Sustainable Design Principle #5: Zoom In

As mentioned previously, 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 #5: Zoom In.

Natural daylight at Sage Hill High SchoolLPA’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 #5: Zoom In. Each planning and design component is part of a much larger whole. Green the details and you’ll green the project.

When we “zoom in,” we’re really thinking about the details of buildings, and how those details start to 1) tell and reinforce each project’s sustainable story, and 2) create a well made product that will be in service for our clients for a long time.

A project or building no matter how small or large is a series of many details, put together, that make “the whole.” We believe that there must be a connection between the big ideas and the small ideas, and the story that is told in between is where we find these future thinking, all-encompassing solutions.

A truly sustainable story should not be just about the big gestures. It’s also about the small things –and if you create a solution where everything is coordinated and telling the same story the results are really powerful. Whether it is a sensor in a window frame that tells the HVAC equipment that the windows is open, or how two materials meet that make the  building easier for the maintenance crews to take care, we are looking to craft buildings Sustainable Design at Sage Hill High Schoolwhere the sum of the parts make the whole better. Many of these “details” have nothing to do with LEED points, but they’re still important; and they’ll greatly affect how a user might operate and maintain their building in the long run.

We believe that making a building that will stand the test of time is one of the most important things we can do as a design firm. We want our buildings to not only stand the test of time from a design standpoint (i.e. not becoming dated), but we also want them to last a long time and be in service for decades for our clients. Building a building is one of the last truly “custom” things that we do in this country. Therefore we want to craft a project that will be sustainable by working as it was predicted to work in the beginning, and also being flexible enough to change over time. When you think in those terms, a thousand small design problems need to be considered and resolved. The wearability of a project and its components over time is key. It’s why we “zoom in.” One cannot achieve timeless architecture without really detailing all aspects of a project well.

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.