Fireproof House Design

The Camp Fire in Paradise, CA was the deadliest wildfire in in the United States in the last century. With 16.5 billion dollars in damage incurred, 18,804 structure burned and 86 lives lost, this fire highlights the need to build fireproof and resilient structures, especially in wildland-urban interface areas. As we have seen from both the Camp Fire and the Tubbs fire in Santa Rosa, where the entire neighborhood of Coffey Park was destroyed, design paradigms need to shift. Building structures to the current code does not offer even a reasonable degree of Fire Safety when compared to “Fire Storms” driven by dry conditions and fierce winds.

Fire Resistant Zero-Net Energy House

This house is designed to withstand the Firestorms that California is experiencing on a regular basis.  In addition, it is designed to be extremely energy efficient, so that a small photo-voltaic (aka: solar panel) system and battery storage system will keep the house fully functional even when the power grid is down for a wild fire safety.  The PV system is sized to provide Zero-Net Energy operation for the house.  It will power both the house and the resident’s electric vehicles.

 Most of the deaths in the Camp fire occurred while people were fleeing the fire.  If the occupants of this home are unable to evacuate, they will be able to safely shelter in place.

This is the Home of the future! It not only responds to the new conditions brought on by climate change but allows the inhabitants to live and commute with a carbon neutral footprint.

Watch the Dublin Police Building Get a Finish Coat of Plaster

Our new Dublin LEED-Platinum Police facility is nearing completion! One of the last steps on the exterior of the building is to apply our specialized plaster mixture. This building shows our method of straw bale construction. In order to waterproof and seal the straw bales, our plaster mixture is applied. Once cured, it provides a waterproof, pest proof and fire resistant exterior. The plaster we use is a high-lime plaster, we have a proprietary blend that we have found to be the perfect balance to achieve the best result. It is applied in 3 coats: two base coats and one color coat. The final coat, also known as the color coat, has a slightly different mixture. This coat is composed of mainly white cement, lime, marble dust and Monterey sand. We use a specialized technique to expose some of the sand in the final coat, creating a washed aggregate finish. See the pictures to view close up, what the exterior of the building looks like when it is finished.

Humans have been plaster coating buildings for thousands of years. Everywhere from the Middle East to England, Rome and Greece to even the pyramids in ancient Egypt!  The earliest discovered plasters are from around 7,500 BC. People living in what is now modern day Jordan used a type of lime plaster mixed with crushed limestone, to coat the walls and floors of their houses. Inside tombs and pyramids in Egypt, plaster was painted with elaborate pictures and hieroglyphics. In ancient Rome, lime and sand were combined to create base layers of plaster over which a final coat containing marble dust & gypsum was applied, creating that classic Mediterranean smooth white appearance to buildings.

Sun Drying Apricots

Jon preparing to dry apricots while sitting under Indigo’s Apricot tree!

Jon preparing to dry apricots while sitting under Indigo’s Apricot tree!

Here at Indigo architects we are interested in all the ways we can use the sun to reduce our dependence on non-renewable energy! Here our Principal Jon Hammond, demonstrates how to sun dry fruit.  In this example, he used apricots.  He has dried many kinds of fruits and vegetables in the sun with very delicious results. Solar drying is fool proof in our dry western climate, in this video we are drying them at outside our office and studio in Davis, California.

1) Choose Very ripe fruit. The riper the better. In the case of apricots, soft ripe fruit makes sweet sun dried fruit.

2) You will need some sort of drying tray. Jon is using Asian drying baskets, but any similar type tray will work. 

3) You will need a sharp knife to cute the fruit in half. Discard the pits and any fruit that may be rotten.

4) Place the Apricots on your tray in a single layer as close together as possible, the fruit will shrink as it dries.

5) Place the tray in direct sunlight. The more sun the fruit is exposed to each day, the faster it will dry.

6) In the warm and dry Central Valley weather, it will typically 3-6 days for the fruit to completely dry.  Completion time will depend on the temperature and the size of the fruit.

7) As the apricots dry, they will change from an orange to a brownish color. Once the apricots have reached a leathery texture, they are done drying.

8) Bag them and freeze for a few weeks, to kill any possible contaminants. 

When frozen, they can be defrosted anytime and will be good to eat for up to one year. Enjoy, your sun dried preservative free apricots!

 

Indigo's New Police Services Building Uses California-Grown Rice Straw

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When City of Dublin, CA officials planned for a new Police Services Building at the Public Safety Complex, they looked way beyond just conventional building approaches. Their new building, features the use of sustainable, straw bale construction.  This energy-efficient building is under construction and when complete, will be a beautiful addition to the civic architecture of Dublin, but it will also contribute to the viability of California’s agricultural regions. This exciting project is a win-win for the City of Dublin and the environment.

Designed by Indigo l Hammond + Playle Architects, LLP of Davis, this building targets LEED-Gold and is certified to the highest-level of code requirements for civic buildings, including rigorous earthquake safety provisions ensuring that this building will be there to serve during emergencies. The 36,000 square-foot Police Services Building is being constructed by Sausal Corporation, Concord, at a cost of approximately $15 million and is expected to be complete by the end of this year. Indigo built the first straw bale public safety buildings in the United States for the City of Visalia in 2007 and is an expert in the design of sustainable, energy-efficient buildings.

California produces the largest medium and short grain rice crop in the United States, with most of its exports shipped to Asia.  Rice straw left in the fields must be removed or composted before the next growing season. Approximately one million metric tons of straw are generated each year, with only 3-5% taken off-field for productive use. About 8% is burned, and the remaining 90% is kept in-field to be decomposed via tillage and winter flooding. While the resulting wetland habitat is now critical waterbird habitat for the Pacific Flyway, this decomposition method is the most expensive approach, so increasing off-field consumption is economically useful. Once baled and removed from the field, straw makes an excellent and highly-sustainable building material, reducing reliance on the import of manufactured materials, helping create energy-saving buildings, and reducing the release of greenhouse gas to the atmosphere.  It is the perfect use for this renewable, agricultural waste product.  

The main benefits of building with straw bale is the increased thermal insulation and mass of exterior walls in buildings resulting in long-term energy savings. Acoustical performance is also enhanced with thick, strong, and durable strawbale walls whose rustic plaster finish results in a pleasing look, reminiscent of “adobe” buildings and an aesthetically marketable building product.  Walls built in this way are also highly fire-resistant.

·         DURABLE, QUIET, AND FIRE-RESISTANT.  Reminiscent of traditional “adobe” construction, strawbale buildings are strong, durable, and highly fire-resistant.   They are effective at shutting-out freeway and other environmental noise, resulting in quieter spaces in which to live and work.

·         AESTHETIC APPEAL:  Thick, plaster-finished strawbale walls are consistent with the Central Valley’s beloved Mediterranean-style civic buildings and are evocative of California’s cultural history.

·         LOWER UTILITY BILLS.  Energy-efficient strawbale walls provides more than twice the thermal insulation of standard construction.  Utility bills are greatly reduced since there is less heat loss in the winter and less heat gain in the summer.  The additional building mass provided by strawbale serves to reduce indoor temperature variation, improving the thermal comfort of occupants.

·         SUSTAINABLE AND RENEWABLE: Rice straw is a locally available renewable product whose use in buildings reduces the environmental problem of rice straw left in the field.  At present over one million tons of straw are generated in California yearly, with only 3-5% taken off-field for productive use.  Using rice straw in public construction reduces the need for importing manufactured building materials and demonstrates government resolve to build responsibly and sustainably.  Straw bale qualifies for credit with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program of the U.S. Green Building Council. 

Indigo Attends ACC 2019

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Indigo was a proud exhibitor at 2019 Animal Care Conference in Santa Clara, CA. Over the weekend we talked to lots of Animal Care Professionals. Carla Braden from the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter won our Bottle of wine Raffle Prize! Indigo is on the cutting edge of Animal Shelter Design, including our Zero-Net Energy Animal Shelter Prototype.

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Join Us for An Earth Day Celebration at Indigo & Repower Yolo

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ONE EARTH. ONE DAY. ONE CELEBRATION.

EATS + LIBATIONS + CONVERSATION.

Monday, April 22nd, 2019, 4-7pm
At the offices of Indigo Architects & Repower Yolo
909 5th Street, Davis

Join Indigo Architects, Repower Yolo, Cool Davis & community climate leaders committed to protecting our planet and creating a sustainable future. Tour Indigo’s Zero Net Energy facility and learn how to foster a ZNE future.

Please help us make this a Zero Waste Event!
Walk, bike or take the bus.
Electric Vehicle Charging available at Indigo.
Car Parking Available on I/J Streets, north of 5th.

Save the Date & Stay Tuned for more information!

Click here to download a PDF of our Invite!

Indigo Hosts Reception for the Climate Readiness Collaborative

One of Indigo’s Principal Architects Bruce Playle, explains how their Office uses passive and active solar strategies to achieve Zero-Net Energy. Indigo’s Office won the Innovation Award from the U.S. Green Building Council and was officially certified “Zero Energy” by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) in 2018.

One of Indigo’s Principal Architects Bruce Playle, explains how their Office uses passive and active solar strategies to achieve Zero-Net Energy. Indigo’s Office won the Innovation Award from the U.S. Green Building Council and was officially certified “Zero Energy” by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) in 2018.

The Capital Region’s Climate Readiness Collaborative held their Sacramento Valley Regional Climate Symposium at UC Davis on Wednesday night.  After a full day of discussing climate action, participants we invited to a reception and a science-to-action demonstration of climate resiliency at Indigo Architect’s award-winning zero-net-energy office. About 60 attendees of the symposium attended the complimentary reception and took a tour of  Indigo Architect’s award winning office at 909 5th Street.

The tour highlighted  Indigo’s  unique  methodology toward designing Zero-Net Energy buildings, including the large water filled columns that help to passively heat and cool the building.  The tour also showed that Indigo didn’t sacrifice aesthetics for the sustainability features of the roughly 4,000-square-foot building and adding to the green theme, they used local, recycled, and renewable materials whenever possible.

The symposium discussed the latest International Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report.  It confirms the necessity for immediate and sustained action on climate change, detailing how close we are to a turning point in the earth’s climate system. The underlying conclusion of the report is that we must stop burning fossil fuels, aiming for a complete phase-out by around 2050 (The Climate Reality Project). One key way to do that is to reduce and ultimately phase out the CO2 emissions produced by the building sector by transforming the way buildings are designed, built, and operated.  This fact led former Gov. Jerry Brown to mandate that all California state owned buildings must be Zero-Net Energy (ZNE) by 2025.

As the climate continues to change, there will be more extreme summers and winters.  Old, inefficient buildings will take more and more energy to heat and cool, increasing the amount of fossil fuels needs to keep the interior climates at a livable temperature.  The building sector already creates almost half (44.6%) of the CO2 emissions in the United States. By comparison, all of transportation in the United States accounted for only 34.3% of CO2 emissions in 2017.  (Architecture 2030)  With this knowledge, Indigo has focused their designs to create climate-adapted,  Zero-Net Energy Buildings.  By manipulating sunlight, wind, and building materials, their buildings remain functional and comfortable for occupants, while using the least amount of energy as possible.

On the tour, Jon Hammond, a Principal Architect at Indigo  explained, “We take energy from the outside environment and bring it into the building, whether it’s cooling energy or heating energy... We work from the understanding that earth’s systems are powered by sunlight, it’s also one of the most beautiful and powerful materials available to architects. Unlike wood, steel, and concrete, the supply of sunlight is free and boundless. Natural light provides building users with superior visual acuity, a sense of psychological well being, and dramatic energy savings. By using the power of nature keep our buildings naturally climate controlled, we can not only create a sustainable building but also a beautiful environment in which to live or work.”

Roughly 60 people attended the reception and toured Indigo’s Office to learn more about sustainably deigned buildings.

Roughly 60 people attended the reception and toured Indigo’s Office to learn more about sustainably deigned buildings.

Indigo is Hiring!

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Project Architects & Designers

Award-winning INDIGO Hammond + Playle Architects, LLP seeks project architects and designers with passion for climate-adapted, regenerative architecture. INDIGO’s mission is to integrate art, architecture and ecology, putting people in touch with their environment, each other, and their spiritual and cultural aspirations.

Work in INDIGO’s award winning net-zero energy, adaptive reuse office in downtown Davis.  This is unique opportunity work alongside Principles that are pioneers in the fields of passive solar, climate adapted, and modern strawbale buildings for the private and public sectors.

Minimum Requirements:

  • Passion for beautiful and sustainable architecture

  • Ability to work independently, but also to collaborate with team members

    We offer:

    ·         Beautiful, naturally lit, awarding winning ZNE Studio

    ·         Supportive, yet independent work environment

    ·         Competitive pay

    ·         Excellent health plan and dental benefits

    ·         Retirement plan

    ·         Personal leave policy

     

    Ideal candidates will have the following:

    ·         Bachelor's degree

    ·         1-5 years of experience in California

    ·         Archicad BIM skills

    Send resume, work samples or link to Bruce Playle at bplayle@indigoarch.com.

Indigo's Candace Harrison, Selected to Speak at the Animal Care Expo 2019!

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Candace Harrison, AIA has been selected to speak on Animal Shelter Design at the Animal Care Expo in April of 2019. Her presentation entitled “Dream Big, Start Small” will cover Indigo’s low cost and expandable animal shelter model which delivers quality shelter design on a budget. Developed in partnership with the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program, the prototype uses scalable, modular design principles which allows for lowest initial cost while not sacrificing quality and durability where it counts. Indigo’s shelter design approach focuses on providing housing that supports the health and wellbeing of animals and spaces that are welcoming to the public and allow for efficient and safe care by staff. Indigo has recently designed projects which have used many of these same principals for the City of Tracy and the Yolo County.  

INDIGO ARCHITECTS PRESENTED WITH 2018 Zero Energy LIVING BUILDING CHALLENGE AWARD

Indigo | Hammond + Playle Architects have been awarded the 2018 Living Building Challenge Zero Energy Award at the Living Future 2018 “unConference” in Portland, Oregon. The Living Future unConference is the leading event in regenerative design. It is the forum for leading minds in the green building movement who are dedicated to creating design for a better future and a healthier planet. ILFI’s unConference is celebrating 12 years of innovation and new ideas in the Green building Movement.   Indigo Architects are the First to Receive this Award for the design of an office building in the world, and the 13th building total to ever achieve Zero-Energy Status.    ILFI  International Living Future Institute is an environmental NGO committed to catalyzing the transformation toward building communities that are ecologically restorative. Composed of leading green building experts and thought-leaders, the Institute creates and certifies the parameters for Living Buildings, Zero-Net Energy Buildings and Zero Energy Buildings, of which Zero Energy has the most stringent parameters- involving the examination of utility bills for one year and other green building techniques.   WHY THIS IS SIGNIFICANT  Our communities are long overdue for a redesign, as existing buildings are the single largest contributor to the problem of global warming. (Architecture 2030) The future of environmental protection depends on our ability to re-purpose, reuse and adapt old construction buildings into new Zero Energy buildings and Indigo Architects are leading the way on that front

Indigo | Hammond + Playle Architects have been awarded the 2018 Living Building Challenge Zero Energy Award at the Living Future 2018 “unConference” in Portland, Oregon. The Living Future unConference is the leading event in regenerative design. It is the forum for leading minds in the green building movement who are dedicated to creating design for a better future and a healthier planet. ILFI’s unConference is celebrating 12 years of innovation and new ideas in the Green building Movement.

Indigo Architects are the First to Receive this Award for the design of an office building in the world, and the 13th building total to ever achieve Zero-Energy Status.

ILFI
International Living Future Institute is an environmental NGO committed to catalyzing the transformation toward building communities that are ecologically restorative. Composed of leading green building experts and thought-leaders, the Institute creates and certifies the parameters for Living Buildings, Zero-Net Energy Buildings and Zero Energy Buildings, of which Zero Energy has the most stringent parameters- involving the examination of utility bills for one year and other green building techniques.

WHY THIS IS SIGNIFICANT
Our communities are long overdue for a redesign, as existing buildings are the single largest contributor to the problem of global warming. (Architecture 2030) The future of environmental protection depends on our ability to re-purpose, reuse and adapt old construction buildings into new Zero Energy buildings and Indigo Architects are leading the way on that front

2018 INDIGO ARCHITECTS WIN ZERO ENERGY AWARD

THURSDAY, APRIL 12th, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

INDIGO ARCHITECTS WIN ZERO ENERGY AWARD

DAVIS, CA

Indigo Architects was notified that Indigo | Hammond + Playle Architects Studio & Office is officially Zero Energy Certified by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI).  This award is the only Zero Energy Certification that is based on actual rather than modeled results.  At least 12-months of utility bills and a 12-month production report is required. Verification is performed by a third-party auditor. Note: Zero-Energy was achieved even while charging two electric vehicles.

 

Relative to the Zero Energy ILFI Certification, this is the:

  • 1st office building in the Sacramento area
  • 2nd project in Davis
  • 4th project in California
  •  6th project in 2018

A UNIQUE NEW BUILDING TYPE

Indigo’s offices are novel in the fact that the building is a “adaptive re-use” Zero Energy building, meaning it was an old inefficient building that was expertly remodeled to achieve ZNE certification. This contrasts with most ZNE buildings, which are new construction. Indigo Architects transformed a dilapidated existing a 1967 Dairy Queen building into a “green” super efficient office space. Using multiple strategies, Indigo was able to fine tune the building to the central valley climate and have the building work with the climate to create an energy saving advantage. This climate-adapted design keeps the building passively cooled 90% of the time. The unique the design approach harnesses energy from the outdoor environment.  Whether it’s cooling energy or heating energy, the power of nature creates a perfectly climate-controlled interior. Heat gain is minimized by strategic use of north and south facing windows, shaded with appropriate solar overhangs and fins to bring in the daylight and keep out the heat.  Natural lighting from skylights and windows allow daytime use without using electric power. Super insulated walls, using straw bale wall construction, reduces cooling and heating loads immensely. This new type of design, creates an extremely energy efficient building, ensuring only a limited number of solar panels need to be installed to achieve Zero-Net Energy status.

WHY THIS IS SIGNIFICANT

In the climate change discussion, much of the focus goes to transportation emissions, however, existing buildings are the single largest contributor to the problem of global warming. (Architecture 2030) The future of environmental protection depends on our ability to repurpose, reuse and adapt old construction buildings into new Zero Energy buildings and Indigo Architects are leading the way on that front.

SETTING THE EXAMPLE FOR CALIFORNIA

The State of California is encouraging Zero Net Energy statewide and has implemented an aggressive program for all their buildings. EXECUTIVE ORDER B-18-12 stated that “all new State buildings and major renovations beginning design after 2025 be constructed as Zero Net Energy facilities.”

FIND OUR CASE STUDY HERE

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT

Jonathan Hammond or Bruce Playle at Indigo, Hammond & Playle Architects, LLP

909 5th Street, Davis, CA 95616 // 530-750-0756 // jhammond@indigoarch.com

Susan Rainier, AIA, LFA, Living Future Certification Consultant // susan.rainier1@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Spring Rain // Spring Flowers

By Jonathan Hammond

After reasonably heavy rains this winter, we have an explosion of spring growth in our California native grass and wildflower meadow at our office-studio in Davis. After we completed construction at the end of 2014 we seeded our landscape areas with native plants. They are all exquisitely adapted to hot dry summers with no rainfall. These plants and seeds wait patiently through the summer and as soon as the rain starts in the fall or early winter, seeds sprout and growth begins, slowly at first, but as the temperatures warm a riot of green growth and flowers erupts. First a luxuriant display of orange poppies, followed by waves of daisy-like tidy tips, then a tide of blue lupines, then white, yellow and salmon yarrow. Meanwhile the grasses are pushing growth and starting to push their seed heads aloft. (The grasses include Idaho fescue, Molate fescue, California onion grass and pine blue grass.)

This meadow of natives is not a "mow, blow and go" adapted landscape: it needs the discerning eye of an experienced landscape gardener who can sort out the invasive non-native weeds, foxtails and thistles. Indigo is lucky to have experienced gardener Seth Seibel on staff.

Early landscape plans and gardens were carved out of the wildness of nature, an expression of man's ability to impose order and dominion over the apparent chaos of nature. Now the careful study of ecosystem dynamics has revealed that ecosystems are in fact, not chaotic. While randomness and chance play a role a beautiful and complex order does in fact exist in natural ecosystems and they are far more stable and resilient than man-made landscapes no matter how manicured.

During the years that I lived and taught in Japan, I spent a significant amount of time walking in the countryside of traditional villages, rice paddies, and vegetable plots that have been woven into the natural mountainous landscape of that country. I was deeply impressed with the beauty of these rich landscapes partly man ordered to grow food and partly natural, teeming with snakes, frogs, foxes and deer and trickling brooks tumbling down hillsides and along the tiny roads and paths.

When I traveled to Kyoto and Nara and visited the famous gardens there, I was let down in a strange sort of way. I began to see them as academic and fussy compared to the natural vitality of the mix of natural and manmade landscapes that I had wandered through in the Japanese countryside.

The gravel expanse at the famous Zen temple Ryoan-ji must be carefully raked each day. Even more striking is the care that must be given to moss gardens like those at Kin-Kaku-ji,  where the moss growing under a grove of maple trees must be kept free of fallen leaves or the moss will be quickly smothered. An enormous amount of work each day goes into maintaining these beautiful places, which is not to say that mindful work does not have redeeming value, but to my mind, the wild fecundity of nature is even more powerful than the serene beauty and man-made order of the classic Japanese gardens.

Principal Jon Hammond Wins "Solar Pioneer" Award

The American Solar Energy Society announced its Passive Pioneer Awards at a ceremony at the San Francisco City club on July 12th, 2016. The award announcement text is as follows:

The Passive Pioneer Award honors those in the passive solar energy field who provided the theories, research, efforts, new concepts and opportunities for later researchers to follow and to improve upon. The award is presented to a deserving innovator who was involved in the early stages of passive theory, design, application  or technology. The 2016 Passive Pioneer Award was presented to Mr. Jonathan Hammond for his early application of passive solar design principles addressing the passive heating and cooling of modern buildings.

Jonathan Hammond played a pivotal role in the emergence of passive solar architecture during the 1970s in California. He built one of the first successful passive solar homes in northern California using a water all retrofit, and the first day lit, naturally heated and cooled office building using a water wall. He worked to improve Harold Hay's "skytherm" concept through the use of a highly insulated roof which served as a reflector of controllable angle. The work with roof ponds later developed into an effective radiant sky/evaporative cooling system.

In 1973 Mr. Hammond co-founded the environmental design firm, Living Systems, which developed impressive and innovative designs to passively heat and cool buildings. He later established Indigo | Hammond + Playle Architects, LLP which the specific purpose of introducing passive principles into the mainstream of civic and institutional architecture. He has continued work on sustainable design throughout his career.

Early in his career, Mr. Hammond explored the nexus between culture and climate by examining how four different cultures adapted to the rigorous New Mexico climate. This work helped inspire him to create an energy conservation building code based on the principles of solar orientation, passive solar heating and cooling, and design with climate. This was put into action as he wrote "A Strategy for Energy Conservation," for the City of Davis, CA. This document resulted in the first climatically adapted building code.

Below are some of Hammond's early passive projects and innovations.

Let It Rain

The last storm brought us a few episodes of short but intense rainfall. We watched from within our studio, mesmerized by the amount of water pouring out from our copper scuppers and into the cobble collection basin below. The water then travels below the cobbles and through a pipe into a bioswale, having the opportunity to soak into the ground along the way. The intent here is to let as much water as possible infiltrate into the ground right here on our site. A carefully designed water collection system not only functions effectively but can be beautiful to see.

Animal Care Conference

Candace and Megumi showcased Indigo's animal shelter project design expertise in the Exhibitor Hall at the 2016 Animal Care Conference. Next to us was the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program who team with us on our animal shelter projects. We were exposed to a wide range of animal caregivers & industry hot topics, came back with solid contacts and had a good time! 

Tour of Village Homes

Megumi joins UC Davis Professor Emeritus, Robert Thayer in providing a for a tour of Village Homes to a Tokyo-based development agency, Aqura. Village Homes, in Davis, California is an ecologically planned 70-acre development built in the mid to late 1970's by Michael and Judy Corbett. The Village consists of various sized single-family homes, apartments, cooperative, offices and a restaurant. Common areas include a community center, pool, orchards and garden plots. The homes are oriented for passive solar design and bioswales to reduce impact on the City's stormwater system. 

Notes from Indigo's Principals: Designing with Clients

Jonathan Hammond, Principal

Jonathan Hammond, Principal

After decades of architectural and artistic practice, I believe that my best designs grow from an understanding and response to my clients’ needs as well as the forces of climate and nature present on a site. I can gain an independent understanding of a given site, its climate, shade trees and orientation. I can predict the angle of the sun on site each hour, each day of the year. The information I must glean from my clients involves their ideas and desires for the building.

I often give clients an assignment: write or draw your personal dreams, goals, criteria, in short your vision and ideas for the design of this building. My goal is for clients to express, directly from their hearts, without worrying about how practical, how silly, how mundane or how crazy their ideas may be. Once clients complete this process, we sit down together to discuss the ideas that have been generated. This way, I can get to work on a project from the position of an informed designer: inspired by my clients’ ideas, ready to create a building that expresses and integrates their vision.

I am fascinated by the challenge of taking disparate visions and molding them into a unified, functional whole. A whole that can be built within a specified budget and expresses what my clients do, how they live, how they learn, work and interact. Adding site considerations to this mix, I can design a building that is so exquisitely adapted to the microclimate that a small photovoltaic array will make it a net zero energy user.

This process requires a bit of effort and commitment from each client, but the result is a genuine creative process, that will, in the end, result in the best building.