KP2 Architects is enthusiastic about the concepts of "ecological architecture". We feel that an environmentally responsible building must respect the site upon which it is built while taking advantage of the benefits offered by that site. We think that good architecture must act upon the need to conserve the energy expended in heating, cooling and illuminating a building. We recognize the limits of our material resources and seek solutions which use materials wisely and appropriately. We also understand that a building stands visible for many, many years and therefore must be beautiful in form and fit gracefully on its site.
The term "environmental architecture" also reflects the physical and aesthetic functions of a house. The quality of light which enters the rooms is, without doubt, an environmental quality which defines and enlivens the interior spaces. The ways in which the layout of the house encourages and strengthens the connection of inside and outside spaces; the manner in which the house takes advantage of the views; the way the house is placed on the site; these are also environmental architecture issues. The form of the building and its materials and colors are integral elements of the dialogue between architecture and environment.
We have studied and designed with a variety of alternative materials and are eager to expand our knowledge and experience in this area. Plastered straw bale construction, rammed earth, insulated concrete masonry systems and expanded polystyrene concrete forming systems have been studied and specified on recent projects. Even projects which are more "mainstream" use materials which are energy and resource-efficient in their production, installation and continued usage. We are eager to learn more about any alternative materials which a client might be interested in. We have access to information and resources regarding a variety of alternative materials and methods of construction which we are happy to share with clients and prospective clients.
Since all buildings exist under the sun all have aspects of solar design. In an ideal world all architecture would acknowledge and respond to this fact. The truth, however, is different. We want to change that. In all of our designs KP2 strives to maximize the passive solar opportunities afforded by a particular site and building program. In addition to passive solar we work to maximize natural ventilation of a building to maximize interior comfort and reduce summer cooling loads. We feel that this is a basic element of good architecture. If the client is interested in an active solar design (and the budget can accommodate one) we can also integrate active systems of photovoltaics and space and culinary water heating into a building design.
Most important, however, in this discussion of alternative materials, is that at KP2 we do not approach a project with preconceived ideas of what materials should be used. We work closely with the Owners to tailor the design and the construction of the building to meet their budget and their needs - we will not force an Owner to use any material or design with which they are uncomfortable.