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September 09, 2013

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Designed for Good: Using What You've Got

The way we create our homes and buildings has changed. The way we interact with our manmade environment has changed; LEED certified, passive and zero-energy are just a few of the buzzwords that have ricocheted across the architectural nomenclature in recent years, each with their own merits and advantages.

In their strive for a more symbiotic relationship with nature, forward-thinking architects have embraced a philosophy that firmly encourages us to use what we have, to design with existing materials in mind. Creating homes and businesses around materials that we already have on hand is an incredibly responsible - both environmentally and economically - style of architecture.

A stunning example of this school of thought is actually a school! The Eco Hawk Research Facility, housed on the University of Kansas campus, is a beautiful of example of using what you've got. The Engineering Department, which uses the facility as a lab to create a better electric car, wanted their built environment to reflect their commitment to a lower impact on the natural one.

Designed by Studio 804, Professor Dan Rockhill (more on his work here) and a team of KU architect students, the designs took stock of existing building materials they might take advantage of before creating the plans for the building, upcycling as many items as possible. Which makes sense. Why wouldn't you reuse instead of spending the energy, resources and money involved in creating new ones? Especially when they result in a building as gorgeous as the pictures below show?

Want more information on this amazing project and the brilliant minds behind it? Check out this article here, and this one as well.