Big Idea Architecture with Small Energy Footprints
  • approach

    At distill, we subscribe to an Integrated Design process that optimizes design, environmental and cost decisions at the front end of the project.

    By adhering to this process, there are two major benefits to the owner. One, the owner’s needs and requirement are being heard by the design team and concurrently the design team is available to offer up possibilities and limitations to the owner in real time. Two, cost can be part of the discussion on day one and the design team can offer up solutions on how to achieve the project goals within the mandated budget.

    Buildings are not static accumulations of bricks and mortar, they are complex ecosystems. Each component, be it the overall design concept, the mechanical system, the building envelope or the photovoltaic panels on the roof share an interdependency that must be understood at the outset of each project. Distill’s approach is to use this complexity to the owner’s advantage by getting the right people at the table, at the right time, asking the right questions. Having the expertise available on day one, allows distill to take advantage of the collective knowledge assembled and tap into potential synergies that translate into meeting the client’s goals as well as meeting cost demands.

    “By the time the design for most human artifacts is completed and before they have actually been built, about 80 to 90 percent of their lifecycle, economic and ecological costs have already been made inevitable. Joseph Romm explains that in a typical building although up-front building and design costs may represent only a fraction of the buildings life-cycle costs, when just 1 percent of a project’s up-front cost are spent, up to 70 percent of project costs may already be committed. When 7 percent of the project costs are spent, up to 85 percent of life-cycle costs have been committed. That first one percent is critical because, as the design adage has it, ‘all the really important mistakes are made on the first day.’”

    The standard process:
    Owner meets Architect and then separately describes to consultants what the owner wants. Consultants then meet with their consultants and tell them what the Owner and Architect want. This thread reverses itself back and forth as each entity works on developing this uniquely complicated project in isolation. The deadline looms and the team quickly assembles the documents making assumptions about what various aspects of the project may cost. Project is issued for construction where the contractor sees it for the first time. Project costs are too high, banker will not finance the project and the proverbial Value Engineering begins. Ironically, this process affords the owner neither Value nor engineering. The project is never realized or worse a project is built that never took advantage of foresight.

    The distill advantage:
    Owner, Architect, Consultants, Sub-consultants, Banker, and builder are all at the same table from day one. Goals are defined in a collective, collaborative effort and realistically laid out. Simultaneously and in an integrated fashion, the project is designed, taking advantage of all synergistic opportunities that this uniquely complex project offers. These are not obstacles, but opportunities. Everyone is on board. Project is issued for construction. The builder, having been at the table from the beginning, brings it in on budget and the project is realized.

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