Sustainable Design Principle #4: Zoom Out

As mentioned in previous posts, LPA has 10 Sustainable Principles that help us think more globally about sustainability, and our approach to integrated sustainable design. Today we're looking at Principle #4: Zoom Out.

Zoom out at CSU San BernardinoLPA's 10 Principles of Absolute Design

  1. Inter + Act
  2. Do Less
  3. Challenge Convention
  4. Zoom Out
  5. Zoom In
  6. Build Smart
  7. Enrich Lives
  8. Create Value
  9. Prove It
  10. Step Up

LPA Sustainable Design Principle #4: Zoom Out. When one of our teams of designers (architects, planners, engineers, interior designers, and landscape architects) begins work on your project, one of the first things we do is look beyond the building site and account for the bigger picture. A macro examination of adjacent buildings, pedestrian access, roads, regional issues and environmental effects give us clues in our search for the most appropriate design solution.

College of Education, CSU San BernardinoZooming Out is about understanding the larger environmental issues so that you can solve those smaller problems with perspective and ease. More than ever, it is critical to understand architecture in a wider context. When it comes to our work in higher education facilities, for example, it often requires going beyond the campus limits to truly appreciate the impact of a building in its environment.

Zooming Out also relates to zooming out in time. Decisions made during the design process will affect the lifetime of a building and its users. This is particularly important on sustainable buildings. Projecting far into the future will offer a broader, ecologically accurate perspective.

Desert environment restored in San BernardinoZooming Out encompasses thinking regionally. The regional factor, both geographical and cultural, has a lot to teach us when it comes to architecture. Looking at the way people typically build in a given area brings good judgment to our design.

Sustainability can be the answer to an environment that has become more and more homogenous with prototypes on every corner, corporate branding and standardization --an ever increasing trend. If we really let sustainable principals inform our designs we will inherently create cities with buildings that are of their place. This creates a visible regionalism with a seamless context and sense of space.

Dan Heinfeld FAIA, LEED AP and President of LPA Inc. For more than 30 years, he has led the design direction of the firm. Since 1985, LPA has been recognized with more than 150 AIA national, state and components awards that promote the important role that sustainability has in the process to inform design. LPA provides services in architecture, planning, interior design, landscape architecture, engineering, signage and graphics.