There are plenty of architectural features that are good for the environment, at least compared to alternatives, and some that can put a building’s inhabitants significantly more in tune with it. But in terms of truly bringing together people and nature, you can’t do much better than putting a garden in the middle of your office.
That’s just what the Cuningham Group, a sustainably focused architecture outfit, did for its new digs in Culver City, California. The new office, dubbed Hayden Place, has all the sustainable bona fides you’d expect from a forward-thinking firm: It’s built inside an old warehouse, it takes advantage of natural light with large windows and a handful of skylights, and it’s outfitted with a number of vents, allowing fresh air to circulate in throughout the day. It’s situated near a bike path and a light-rail stop, and it’s on track for LEED Gold certification.
And again, as you’d expect, it’s got the look of a place that values good design and encourages a free flow of ideas. The office features a nice, open floor plan, with desks situated around a long wooden tube vaguely resembling a cresting wave (it houses a meeting room, naturally). There’s a fully stocked kitchen, a gallery, and at least a half dozen different types of cool chairs to be found throughout.
But at a point where all those things could be considered table stakes for building a cool, green work space, incorporating an actual patch of green stuff ups the ante a bit. The plan is for employees to maintain the garden, and in addition to filtering the air in the office and conveying the company’s commitment to the environment, the unlikely organic addition gets at a simple truth that’s occasionally overlooked when we talk about the environment and why it’s worth saving. Namely, that it feels great to be among plants.
[Hat tip: Arch Daily]