The Constructor

Construction Begins on Arizona’s First ‘Living Building’

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Construction for Arizona’s first “living building,” called the Sonoran Studio, is underway near the Indian School Road in Phoenix. The Sonoran Studio will function as an office for the building’s architecture and design firm, Architectural Resource Team, and will be situated adjacent to its existing office.

The Sonoran Studio
Image Courtesy: Architectural Resource Team

The firm has been working on the project for the last four years, and the construction is expected to complete in 8-10 months. 

A building has to meet certain conditions called the “petals” in order to get certified as a living building through the Living Building Challenge. 

These “petals” include reliance only on current solar income for energy, cent percent dependence on captured precipitation or closed-loop water systems for water and treating water on-site, and using materials that don't contain or are produced using harmful chemicals.

Other sustainable systems in the building will include a 10,000-gallon rainwater catchment system and composting toilet systems. The building will have hydropanels to catch the water in the air, condense it, dispense the clean and mineralized water.

The company had to work closely with the city of Phoenix on the building plans as the codes require the building to be connected to the city’s water, sewer and power utilities.

The Living Building Challenge was created by the International Living Future Institute in May 2009. It is currently the most challenging regenerative building certification and advocacy platform in the world. The Projects aim to satisfy the seven Petals (performance categories), including 20 required subcategories.

*Place Petal- This petal focuses on limits to growth, urban agriculture, habitat exchange, and human-powered living.    

*Water Petal- It focuses on water conservation practices and minimizing wastage of water.

*Beauty Petal- It integrates physical elements like art and decor into the building design to celebrate the history and culture of the location.

*Energy Petal- The energy required for the project will be supplied by on-site energy.

*Health and Happiness Petal- It focuses on providing better access to clean air and sunlight through windows, more greenery within site, and other steps like the prohibition of smoking and the use of clean products on the premises.

*Material Petal- The petal aims towards the use of sustainable, non-toxic, ecologically restorative, socially equitable, and transparent material while reducing the overall carbon footprint and waste generated during the project.

*Equity Petal- Human scale+Human places: The Sonoran Studio is designed to promote culture and interaction, focusing on the human scale rather than the automobile scale. The project will also donate half a cent or more of every dollar of the total project cost.

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