Virginia Tech Student Wins 2012 ASID National Design Competition

We are pleased to announce that the winner of the 2012 ASID National Design Competition is our very own Hannah Chessman! Hannah submitted her Advertising Agency, La Comunidad, which was a project from Matt’s studio in the Fall 2011 semester. The design criteria of the project was specifically focused on implementing innovative sustainable strategies.

La Comunidad is an advertising agency, specializing in graphic design and animation. They are a young, active, and environmentally conscious firm, looking to open an office in Brooklyn, New York. The site chosen for their office space is a warehouse building located on Commercial Street, which offers uninterrupted views of the Manhattan skyline through large scale windows on every floor. The environmental and economic benefits of reusing an existing building rather than opting for new construction are unparalleled.

Because of the location, indoor air quality (IAQ), a connection to nature, and general health of occupants were key issues that this design attempted to address. Substantial amounts of vegetation combat both low IAQ and the negative psychological effects of urbanization. Employee and community healthis improved, in part, through raising IAQ, offering walking and bike paths for exercise, and creating an office design that encourages movement and collaboration.

This particular office design has the potential to impact a large number of people in unique ways. Employees would directly benefit from the sustainable office environment, which would improve personal health as well as productivity. The surrounding Brooklyn neighborhood would gain community gardens, opportunities for exercise, and knowledge of the benefits of sustainable design. Any person involved in the construction and upkeep of the office building would realize the benefits and importance of designing sustainably for economic and environmental reasons. Because of the company’s innovations in sustainability, this office design has the potential to impact people around the world as a guide for the future of commercial design.

The design for this office aims to consider all areas of sustainable design including but not limited to rainwater harvesting systems, energy and water efficient plumbing, local materials, greenhouse gas reduction, optimized daylighting, offsite renewable energy, waste management, and a general contribution to the surrounding environment. The ultimate goal of this project is not only to improve the welfare of the community but also to create a vehicle for the discussion of sustainable design and its growing necessity in the design world.

Because of the existing site’s location, no animal or plant life is harmed or misplaced in the new construction phase. In fact, a substantial amount of plant life is actually added to the area as a result. From floral and vegetable gardens to grass-lined walkways to a 45,000 square foot park and garden area directly behind the building, the opportunities for increasing plant life and connection to nature are almost limitless. Environmental benefits are not limited to increased vegetation as the building also offsets some of its greenhouse gas emissions through wind turbines which produce emissions-free energy and take the first step toward maintaining a Net Zero Energy building.

View Hannah’s entry on Open Architecture Network

This is the third year in a row that a Virginia Tech interior design student has won one of the two national competition prizes.