My initial idea for the Sustainable Built Environment Learning and Exhibition Center is a green building that makes visitors feel comfortable, at peace, and inspired, while being memorable and elegant. A theme I would like to pursue is the connection of inside and outside spaces, and integration of natural elements in all aspects of the building. All of these would ideally have multiple purposes, but primarily being aesthetic and visually pleasing, and promoting and displaying sustainable building practices and performance. Some ways to accomplish this could be having a green roof, mimicking nature in the interior and exterior building design, utilizing renewable energy (for instance, solar panels on the roof), having large but energy efficient windows to bring as much natural light in as possible and also to expand interior spaces by connecting them with the outside ones. Colors should be warm, calming, and similar to those found in nature, especially in the local environment of the building. I would like to have lots of big open spaces inside the building where people could simply relax and breathe, and take in everything the exhibition center is offering. The idea of biophilia is an important guiding principle and the building should have lots of greenery both inside and outside.
An unlikely source of inspiration for me was an Apple store in Los Angeles that I recently visited. I really liked the open space with rows of trees inside which are also reflected in the ceiling, giving a sense of a much larger space. I also liked the wooden tables and other furniture inside. One idea is to possibly include a Japanese garden within the exhibition center. I have been to a few of those, and they were some of the most peaceful places I have experienced.
Another building that serves as inspiration is the Shanghai Natural History Museum. I have not been there before, but I really like the exterior design of its walls. The picture below shows a wall that reminds me of honeycomb (nature!) but also has a very modern feel to it. That leads me to another important idea I have for this building — I would like it to have modern architecture, something that stands out and draws attention to it, while also giving people a chance to enjoy it peacefully and at their own pace. In addition, I hope to maximize the use of sustainable materials throughout the building. I would like to design the building with occupants in mind at all times. One idea I had is to encourage employees to bike to work, and thus have shower rooms, mud rooms, and bike rooms near the entrance. Passive heating and cooling, and natural ventilation are other aspects I would like to implement. Another building I like is the Packard Foundation building in Los Altos. I like how it fits with the surrounding environment.