September 2 2010

Light, Louvers and Beauty that is Skin Deep

The Long Island Louver House by Leroy Street Studio is a beautiful example of a wood louver and rainscreen system that inspired our designers to integrate sustainability, thermal insulation, glazing, solar shading, moisture protection and art into a simple elegant system for cladding The Center for Parks and People at Auchentoroly Terrace. As illustrated in the image above, the Long Island Louver House (LILH) uses a horizontally mounted system of wood louvers as a 'veil' over opaque wall, glazed window, and open porch space beyond creating what the architects describe as "a gauzy translucence rarely seen in solid, volumetric structures."

"the skin is the largest organ in mammals and because it interfaces with the environment, skin plays a key role in protecting against pathogens, excessive water loss, thermal insulation, temperature regulation, and sensation..." -Wikipedia

Facades (exterior envelopes) are critical to the performance of buildings and skins should, even in their most basic forms, protect the building from moisture, heat, marauding vikings, vermin while providing a basic means to help regulate indoor temperatures. The real challenge for sustainable designers, I would argue, is to elevate the building skin into a holistically designed system which mediates the exterior and interior climate and does so while improving the local, regional and global environment. Facades can generate electricity, heat water, introduce light, heat space, store energy, shade, collect water, grow plants and be exceptionally beautiful at the same time. It takes skill and integrated design but the result stands a chance at being a practical, ecological work of art. The Long Island Louver House did not attempt this level of sophistication, but can be referenced as a project that begins to address this complex and engaging issue.

Click here more information on the Long Island Louver House or follow our own investigation into holistic and integrated facade design.

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