All posts by Peter C. Majewski

When a Building is the Star

Centerbrook Green Roof and Rooftop Garden. Photo by Jeff Goldberg

“Green” building is the buzz nowadays. People want their children to attend a sustainable school, be driven about in hybrid cars, and to live in a house with eco-friendly materials and Energy Star appliances. It’s good to see. But long before green buzz, there was progress being made on energy conservation. You may be familiar with Energy Star as an efficiency rating for appliances, but buildings also can be so designated. For the past 30-plus years Centerbrook has created energy efficient buildings naturally by using common sense design and construction techniques. From passive solar houses in the 1970s to three recent LEED Platinum projects, including the highly acclaimed Kroon Hall at Yale University (with Hopkins Architects), we continue to strive to do the right thing by designing healthy and responsible buildings for our clients.

Like many good things, energy consciousness starts at home. Our office is a working laboratory for testing building strategies, including hydro-power, photovoltaic arrays, a green roof, a pond-source geo-thermal system, efficient lighting, window films, spray foam insulation, and automated controls. As co-chair of the Designing with Nature Committee here at Centerbrook, one of my duties is to monitor the office performance and to document our compliance with LEED EBOM (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – Existing Building Operations and Maintenance). Continue reading When a Building is the Star

A Symphony with an Ocean View

As an architect involved with projects great and small, I am always struck by how disparate elements come together to work towards a distant and unifying goal.  An aerial view might reveal all of the “usual suspects” – designers, engineers, consultants, carpenters, painters, pool builders etc. – scurrying around below like monomaniacal worker ants, somehow managing not to bump into one another or to come to blows.  All for one and one for all … well, with some exceptions.

A construction site is, indeed, a stimulating, fast-paced environment.  There are deadlines to keep and budgets to meet.  I owe much of my continuing architectural education to the daily interaction with varied professionals on the job site, seeing the project and its many challenges from multiple perspectives.  At ground level, the constant coordination and cacophony of construction are reminiscent of that most civilized of endeavors: a symphony orchestra making music.  Bear with me on this.

Continue reading A Symphony with an Ocean View