GOOD ARCHITECTURE: A PUBLIC SERVICE

 Reblog from: http://charlottesvillearchitect.wordpress.com/2010/11/20/good-architecture-a-public-service/

Green Office Building

Luxor #4 and 5, Charlottesville Architecture

When traveling into any city, one can’t help but witness the wide variety of architectural expression (or lack thereof) in the commercial buildings along the strip. Often, what is built is little more than a cheap box with a sign out front. It might serve the business purpose of the owner, but does little to enhance the public good. Often what will emerge is a caricature of the local vernacular which fails abysmally because no one spent any time thinking of the massing and proportions or the reasons the vernacular looks as it does.

With a little effort and not much in the way of additional cost, these buildings could be so much more. When properly executed, buildings should create a sense of enjoyment for the everyday passer-by. They should not be overwhelming to the pedestrian, yet still be inviting for the motorist. Additionally, commercial development should be designed as to not create a blight on the local landscape. The buildings should be environmentally friendly in design and execution. This begins as simply as making the best use of the construction materials. Doing so results in less waste both at the point of extraction and reduction of the logjam that is the waste stream. At the same point in the process, if proper care is taken in designing the building envelope and HVAC systems, the building becomes more energy-efficient, again reducing taxation of the earth’s resources.

If a building is designed well, it will also increase the occupants’ productivity. Our latest project addresses all of these issues. Luxor Commercial Center features two signature buildings fronting on Richmond Road in Charlottesville, Virginia. The buildings are set up to break down the mass of 24,000 square feet of office space to a more human scale and reflect some of the materials palette of the area’s historic structures without attempting to look like 300 year old buildings. When complete, there will be pedestrian space around the buildings which will create a place where the occupants of the buildings can sit outdoors and enjoy their lunch or a coffee break.

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