By: William Arch
Project Highlight :
RGV - Tower
The Regenerative Tower (RGV-Tower for short) was designed with the intent to incorporate the Living Building Challenge keystones as a foundation for the rejuvenation and improvement of the surrounding area.
Located in the central business district of downtown Houston, TX. On brownfield sites and minimally used parking lot parcels, The RGV-Tower will become a residence for the growing population of the city. Greatly influenced by the environmental and social conditions of the area, the RGV-Tower is able to behave more akin to a living organism and become a participant in the activities around itself, rather than just a static machine tower like so many before.
By having the living building challenge categories as a foundation for the design of this tower, this imagined proposal rejuvenates and reconnects the site back to the city. Through the use of water reclamation, site development, equity, and non-toxic building materials, the environmental quality of the ecosystem is improved as well as the occupants health, safety, and welfare.
Currently around the globe many architects are designing buildings that do not take into consideration the climate in which they are placed. Buildings behave as machines with singular and linear focuses revolving around the user and not as a living organism that embraces both the man-made and the natural ecosystems.
Sustainable design has been in practice for many years and the results from the amalgamation of buildings all around the world can be seen as an improvement over architecture of the past, yet it can also be considered that Sustainable design is merely the first step towards an even more holistic green future.
Buildings that are sustainable can be primarily classified by how minimal the building impacts the site on which it is placed and at this point, to progress one step forward, architects and designers have begun looking into what is known as Regenerative design. Regenerative design is the process by which a building is beneficial to the site by revitalizing and improving the climate in which it is located.
By designing a building that can house the growing populations of cities throughout the years to come, and also acts as a living and interactive organism so as to improve the climate, a mutual and beneficial synergy between the man-made and natural systems can be achieved.
A core difference between sustainability and regenerative architecture lies in the betterment of the area around the building location. Sustainable design is intended to use minimal and non-polluting resources in its design and construction as well as using passive and semi-passive design systems to heat and cool the building, rainwater collection for water-runoff mitigation, and potentially using solar panels for energy consumption.
Regenerative architecture goes beyond sustainable building intents by also improving the surrounding environment and restoring a site's natural conditions. Regenerative buildings not only produce all of their own energy, capture and treat all water, but they are also designed and operated to have a net-positive impact on the environment, including repairing surrounding ecosystems.
Producing more energy than the building consumes and sharing the excess so other buildings can meet their energy demands; creating opportunities for urban agriculture such as growing food on a green roof; recharging groundwater systems or creating ecosystems for local species are just a few of the net positive benefits that regenerative buildings can have on their surrounding climate.