The planning perception of the Porter School of Environmental studies (PSES) Building best reflects the concept of sustainability in architecture: a synergic integration between environmental, human and social aspects.
The Environmental Aspect
In terms of environmental aspects, the planners have emphasized optimal utilization and preservation of natural resources on site: solar radiation, wind, soil, water and air. Therefore, the planning process began by analyzing the morphology and climatic parameters of the designated building plot.
The first decision concerned the positioning of the structure. In order to maximize the amply available solar radiation, the planners decided that the long façade of the building will face south. However, it was determined that a high south facing wall – the EcoWall – would protect the building users from the sun’s radiation and from noise and pollution arising from the Ayalon Highway below. Additionally, it was decided to take advantage of the western winds for ventilation and cooling of the internal space, by means of special ventilation hatches in the western wall. A variety of advanced environmental technologies – some passive and some active – are embedded into the building and its surrounding, with the goal of generating green energy, ensuring energy efficiency, recycling water and treating waste.
The Human-Social Aspect
Addressing the social aspect, the architects designed an open and inviting building, to encourage productive and inspiring encounters between PSES Building users – researchers, students and visitors. In stark contrast to the perception of the 'ivory tower' characterizing academia, the planners emphasized visibility and the educational dimensions of the green systems and ideas embedded in the building. The PSES Building in its entirety will constitute a green architecture research laboratory, accessible to the public. Within the EcoWall, transparent presentation spaces will invite the public to observe research as it happens and the implementation of new environmental technologies. The planners have further created an abundance of spacious, transparent and well-lit public areas, in which building users can meet, connect with the external environment and share thoughts and knowledge. Thus the PSES Building will tangibly embody the interdisciplinary approach, which is the conceptual foundation of the Porter School of Environmental Studies.