Category Integrated Buildings

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THE GREGORY BATESON BUILDING, 1977-1981

Sacramento, California

Sim Van der Ryn, State Architect

The Gregory Bateson Building was the flagship building of a series of state office projects. These buildings were intended to transform the State of California’s building administration practices. The aim was to move state agen­cies from scattered leased office spaces to more amenable workplaces the state would build to its own higher stan­dards. The Bateson Building was also part of two other programs initiated by then-Governor Jerry Brown to establish new energy performance standards and to revi­talize the state capital office area of Sacramento. It was the first of 13 buildings in what was called the Capitol Plan.

The result is a pleasing contradiction in terms: a pub­licly inviting state office building...

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Scale of Impact

A final principle of the environmental ethic concerns lim­its on the boundaries of influence that a design is obligat­ed to consider. Here too there are shades of green determined by the extent of scale. The spectrum crosses between what Norwegian ecophilosopher Arne Naess terms “shallow ecology” and “deep ecology,” designating respective degrees of local versus global concern. Local – scale thinking deals with efficiency, economy, and direct benefit to the building user over a finite project life span...

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Green Architecture

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escribed as solar, passive, ecological, sustainable, regenerative, or just plain green—environmentally aligned approaches to architecture are guided by both scientific principles and a worshipful romance with nature. Consequently, green buildings are part method, part philosophy, and part ethic.

Ethic

The 2000-2001 traveling exhibit Ten Shades of Green, curated by Peter Buchanan and designed by Tsurumaki Lewis, depicted the Ten Commandments of environmen­tal design. It included the customary variety of notable buildings by prominent architects, but those details are not the present point of this discussion. The exhibition title by itself, taken out of the context of the exemplary work it promotes, provokes a divergent idea...

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Appropriate Systems

Precedent

The most fundamental roots for Foster’s design of the HSBC building are found in his own solution for the Willis Faber Dumas (WFD) headquarters of 1975 (see case study #7). Completed four years before the Hong Kong competition began, the WFD building portrays many of the ideas consistent and evolving in Foster’s work. The general notion of pushing technical possibilities to the limit in service to building occupants would be important in this instance. His standards of craft, finish, and detail would also come into play at HSBC, as would his egalitar­ian ideals concerning the workplace. One of the conceptu­al underpinnings of WFD is found in Foster’s use of a bank of escalators as a central open space in place of closed elevator cores...

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HONG KONG AND SHANGHAI BANK, 1979-1986

Hong Kong

Norman Foster & Associates

The Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank (HKSB) is a vertical banking city of eight villages suspended below double­height lobby spaces. The lowest of the lobbies is an open pedestrian mall at grade level that maintains an urban parkway leading from ferry landings to cultural centers. Inside the building a small number of express elevators run between the double-height lobby floors, with escala­tors providing quick and open circulation within each ver­tical village.

Custom prefabrication typifies the HKSB technical systems. The large scale of this project allowed for every component to be custom designed and fabricated. Construction on the small site proceeded as components were delivered and plugged directly in place...

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