Flow chronicles the Omega Center for Sustainable Living at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck, New York. Designed by BNIM Architects, the OCSL embraces the concept of sustainable design and construction to the fullest, certifying it as a Living Building striving to have a net-zero impact. Built in 2009, the center is an anchor for the groups’ environmental efforts, and brings together state-of-the-art energy and waste systems, efforts to work with area farms and organic growers, and a teaching facility that demonstrates local solutions to global problems. Its unique location on one of the most important watersheds in the world—the 13,400-square-mile Hudson River watershed basin—informs its dedication to water quality and responsible stewardship.
The Making of the Omega Center for Sustainable Living
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John Todd: Dr. Todd is one of the pioneers in the emerging field of ecological design and engineering and the founder and senior partner of John Todd Ecological Design. Beyond his numerous awards and citations including the 2008 Buckminster Fuller Award, Dr. Todd has degrees in agriculture, parasitology & tropical medicine from McGill University and a doctorate in fisheries and ethology from the University of Michigan. Dr. Todd is currently a tenured research professor at the School of Natural Resources and both a Distinguished Lecturer and Fellow of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont. He is also the founder and president of Ocean Arks International, a non-profit research and education organization established in 1981.
Steve McDowell: Steve McDowell is an innovator, and his workplace is a laboratory for exploring ideas related to site, environment and technical investigation. He begins with the “idea” as a cornerstone of process and believes in a lively exchange of thoughts to stimulate exploration and sustain innovation. These thoughts become a vehicle for discovery, and the result is research, such as the Packard Matrix, the first tool that measures the market costs associated with each level of LEED. Steve maintains that good design is about people–-their health, productivity, and lifting the human spirit through design. His work is setting new standards in high-performance design with three projects at the University of Texas-HSC at Houston and groundbreaking work in Kansas City, including the Metropolitan Kansas City Performing Arts Center (in collaboration with Moshe Safdie).
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011