distill studio

Big Idea Architecture with Small Energy Footprints

  • In Green Company: Behavioral Methods for Energy Efficiency
    In 2011, together the Renewable Energy Fund from the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, BIF launched a research initiative that looked at commercial energy usage from the perspective of people who make day to day decisions: executives responsible for energy policies and decisions, employees who generate ideas and whose actions define energy usage. Taking this human factors approach, we sought to identify new behavior frameworks that companies can adopt in order to shift – both culturally and behaviorally. Based on the research and resulting insights, In Good Company: Behavioral Methods for Energy Efficiency emerged to help companies be more successful in their energy efforts.

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    For the full report and great videos by the areas leading experts, go to the BIF’s website


  • As taken from the Providence Monthly:

    The Box Office  on Harris Avenue, is constructed of 32 recycled steel shipping containers. It provides 12 office units, each of which is 1000 square feet. Josh Brandt, of Stack Design, who served as the construction manager of the project and is headquartered in the building, said that the steel shipping container market is a peculiar one. It’s cheaper to simply build new containers than ship extra ones around the world. As a result, there’s a glut of steel shipping containers sitting around rusting. Rather than simply landfill them, a recent trend, particularly in Europe and in the military, is to use the containers as building materials. “Aesthetic constraints,” according to Brandt, have slowed widespread adoption on the East Coast. Any excess steel culled from reshaping the containers was reused in the structure.
    To see the other 9 companies go to the link at Providence Monthly


  • Most American Urban centers have a large portion of land that is categorized as ‘under-utilized.’ This can often take the shape of surface parking or a lot that is waiting to be developed or both. At distill studio, and along with UbiGO LLC, we’re working on providing a solution that can address this under-utilized condition. When the 100 year master plan cannot be funded and the city is sick of the idea of having more parking lots, there’s an ‘Interim Step Architecture’ (ISA) that can arrive overnight, be in place in a few days and leave whenever funding or the ‘bricks and mortar’ project is green-lighted. It’s a win-win. The city and the community get Instant Place-Making (and no parking lot) and the developer or land owner can bridge the gap by generating revenue from the programs that fill the moveable modules. Programs to fill the space? They can range from office to retail to business incubators.

  • The William Turnbull Competition for Retrofitting the American West focused on securing a “safe, adequate, and reliable water supply for an environmentally and economically resilient future.” We chose the city of Fresno as the context through which we would address these challenges. Working within a collaboration of architects, designers, and engineers, the starting premise was that the issue of water needed to be addressed in the context of systems rather than objects.

    In the first board, to the left, Four main areas of focus were identified within the larger hydrological system in Fresno: water consumption, water treatment, density of development, and surface porosity. These areas were addressed through the lens of the residential sector. The decision to create a proposal specifically focused on the residential sector of Fresno stemmed from the fact that nearly two thirds of the overall water consumption of the city was rooted in housing (51% in single family housing, and 15% in multi-family housing).

    While it would be ideal to address the inefficiency, waste, and over-use within the commerial, institutional, or agricultural sectors, our research presents the reality that with very achievable changes within the realm of housing alone, Fresno can be transformed from a hydro[illogical] system that is fundamentally fated to collapse, into a hydro[logical] system that can not only maintain self-sustenance, but also recharge its aquifer back to its original depth before the year 2050.

    Above, in the board to the right:
    CHANGE: The problems inherent to the water system of Fresno exist both on the macro and micro level and are not independent of each other. They tend to reinforce the flaws in both scales of activity. In order to confront such a multi-scalar dilemma, a multi-scalar approach must be adopted. Change must come both from the top-down and the bottom-up simultaneously.Top-down change will inevitably come forth in the form of socioeconomic deterrents and incentives aimed at curbing over-use and promoting sustainable habits. These can manifest themselves in the form of new municipal policies, new municipal laws, or novel systems of taxation and funding that are progressive or proportional systems of economics/pricing, rather than the typical flat and generalized pricing/economics. The bottom-up change must address education and various forms of architectural/community prototyping. The changes in the residential sector, as proposed above, are very much achievable. They are goals, in fact, that have already been achieved in various areas of Fresno already where many residents are already living in a sustainable manner. The role of the architect-engineer-designer collaborative must to be to unveil these prototypes, establish new ones, and educate the public.

  • distill studio was recently awared the highest honor (Gold) for the design of the ‘Box Office’ by Rhode Island Monthly. Here’s what they had to say:
    “In Providence? Really? This super commercial office space constructed of recycled shipping containers was an unexpected delight. Structurally and spatially, the jury commended the dynamic design up-and-down. ‘Made up of thirty-five Standard ISO shipping containers, teh Box Office is configured to offer twelve units of space that range in square footage from 640 to 2,500 square feet,’ the architect says. The building uses less energy than other office buildings due to the design team’s forward-thinking scheming. And, with super energy-recovery ventilators in each unit and sustainable interior finishes, it offers excellent indoor-air quality. Day-lighting and veiws are unbelivable too. More pleasure dome than work environment, we only hope similar buildings spring up in its fantastic wave.”
    Attending the event, were others winners and those that helped make the project a success.
    Click here to go to the RI-Monthly

  • distill is currently working on a multi-unit Apartment project. The goal is to combine good design, solid and simple building science principles, and sustainable site strategies to bring on line an elegant solution for an urban under-utilized space. Stay tuned for further updates as the project moves along.

  • Check out the recent article in Entrepreneur Magazine regarding distill studio, the Box Office and some new ideas we’re working on.
    Click here to go to the article in Entrepreneur Magazine

  • David Seligner, of core77 Interviewed Joe Haskett of distill studio. Click here to go to the Interview

  • distill studio was in the Belgium Magazine Le VIF Weekend for the ‘Box Office’ project. The article titled, ‘Heavy Metal’ showcases the best desiged container projects in the world. distill studio’s Box Office was afforded not only the magazine cover, but the article feature.

    distill studio was recently featured in an article for Design New England for their work on the ‘Box Office’ project. Click here, to go to the article (page 50).

    One of distill studio’s most recent projects made the April Cover of Rhode Island Home & Design. The article focuses on the cost effective way distill studio approached this deep-energy retrofit. Through the combination of smart design and building science, the results can be extremely positive. Click here to go to the article (page 22).

  • Yesterday morning, Senator Reed (of Rhode Island) and Nancy Sutley, Chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality visited the Box Office for a tour. The tour, led by Architect Joe Haskett (of distill studio) and Owner, Peter Gill Case (of Truth Box Inc.) started with a brief history, highlighted the energy efficiency of the project and culminated with both the Senator and Chairwoman meeting the various small companies that call the Box Office their home. Keep an eye out for a more detailed description of the tour, when we guest blog on the White House website under the Council on Environmental Quality. For an article regarding the Senator and the Chairwoman’s visit to Rhode Island, please see the article in the Providence Journal.

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