Utilising nature as a building system input generates symbiotic interrelationships between the occupants and the built and natural environment, and suggests an innovative design methodology grounded in the contextual natural processes of a given site. This approach was explored through the design of an office building within a variant climate site, Takoma Park, Washington DC. The focus was on the design and integration of the program spaces with the building infrastructure with regard to providing maximum thermally optimal occupied spaces throughout the year. This was achieved through the interrelation of the extreme iconic thermal spaces of a cave ecosystem, a thermal mass, with a greenhouse, a glazed, low thermal storage capacity environment responsive to site thermal characteristics, supplemented with gradient spaces.
Keywords: passive thermal conditioning, sustainable design, innovative design, USA, United States, office buildings, building design, natural environment, cave ecosystems, thermal storage capacity, gradient spaces, sustainability, built environment