What makes Long Beach a unique city? Two of the most important factors that make Long Beach a unique city are the Long Beach International Port and Cal State University Long Beach (CSULB). Residents of Long Beach realize that every couple of years there is a new construction project occurring in the city; this usually takes the form of commercial buildings or residential apartment buildings. These projects take place because of demand from a growing city. Similarly, students on the CSULB campus notice that there are constant construction projects and renovations going on; these new buildings attract more domestic and international students. There are plans to build a new student housing complex in Downtown Long Beach.
This is going to be an off-campus student village for students who study at Cal State University of Long Beach. The location of the construction project is an area of Downtown Long Beach known as the Streets. The construction plan will include space for 800 new dorms, 16 classrooms, gallery space and lab space that can accommodate 1100 students. One of the key parts of the project is to move the University Art Museum to this location. This project is located at 6th Street and Long Beach Boulevard and conveniently situated next to the 5th Street Blue Line Station.
The design for this project was created by Long Beach-based architectural firm Studio One Eleven. With the recent global initiative towards “green” thinking, the focus of this design is on sustainability. What is meant by “green” thinking and sustainability in terms of design? The word “green” has been adopted as a term to refer to industrial, manufacturing, and business practices that seek to reduce or eliminate harmful and dangerous effects on the environment and on human and animal health. Climate change is a major concern for scientists and researchers around the world who claim that one of the primary causes behind this phenomenon is the emission of greenhouse gases produced by humans. According to Richard Muller, Professor of Physics, University of California, Berkeley, there has been a 1.5 C increase in global temperatures in the last 250 years. These calculations are based on years of research by the non-profit research group Berkeley Earth (berkeleyearth.org).
The consequences over a long period of time may be catastrophic as sea levels could rise, animal and plant species may not be able to adjust to these changes; thus, perhaps there could be a loss of life on Earth as a result of climate change.The belief that humans are the root of this concerning issue has led to some dramatic changes in the industrial, manufacturing, and business practices around the world. Corporations around the world have been promoting a “green” approach that seeks to reduce our carbon footprint on the planet. This is particularly true in the architectural design and construction industry. There are several reasons for this.
First, the development of more advanced and efficient technology has facilitated new construction and design techniques that have replaced more traditional ones. Moreover, the materials used for construction projects have been refined through the years to lead to a greener design. For instance, architects nowadays tend to utilize more natural light in their plans for houses and buildings in order to reduce the need for electricity, and when they do intend on installing electrical light sources in homes or other structures, there is a push in the industry to make use of energy-saving products and materials. Another example would be the use of materials that are recycled from previous projects. In construction projects that strive to meet global requirements for green architecture, ventilation systems are also points of interest in terms of sustainability. This is because heating and cooling systems often require a large energy load. If these systems are designed with greater sustainability in mind, then the required electricity load needed to power these systems would be greatly reduced.
It is important to understand what is meant by sustainable design in construction and engineering. In this context, the word sustainable is synonymous with the phrase environmentally friendly. Sustainable design refers to designs that attempt to reduce negative environmental impact, limit waste, and reduce the consumption of nonrenewable resources.
Sustainable design implies certain environmental, economic, and social benefits. The environmental benefits could include the conservation and restoration of the surrounding ecosystem and natural resources; moreover, the economic benefits may potentially be a reduction of costs and an optimization of productivity. The social benefits of such a design should also be considered. These can include an improved quality of life for residents and occupants. There are several principles behind sustainable design; these include making the best use of the land that is available, using environmentally friendly materials and products, and improving operational practices. Building designers, architects, and engineers understand that a project can have certain direct and indirect effects on the surrounding environment and population. The design of a sustainable building must take into account water, raw materials, land, and energy usage. When one is in the process of designing a building for sustainability, the building site and surrounding land must be considered.
Builders will have to keep in mind the possible impact of the construction on the soil and vegetation nearby. The goal here is to reduce land degradation and deforestation. Of course the cost of the project must also be considered. It is difficult to find this balance between cost-effectiveness and sustainability.
Nevertheless, many design firms are pushing to move in this direction because they are looking at the long-term impact their projects will have.