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A low-carbon agricultural center in California. Award-winning project by Polish students

27 of September '23
w skrócie
  1. Wojciech Bandyk and Roksana Gleizner of Wroclaw University of Technology have won the Citation Award in the Architecture at Zero competition for their design of an ecological agricultural center in California.
  2. The ECOZONE project is based on the use of rammed earth as the main building material and focuses on low-carbon solutions.
  3. The center includes a store, bar, residential pavilion, community kitchen, seasonal greenhouses, offices and classrooms.
  4. The project is distinguished by its austere form, green roofs and the possibility of multiplication for the potential development of the farm, focusing on a zero-carbon approach and sustainability.
  5. For more interesting information, visit the home page of the A&B portal.

Wojciech Bandyk and Roksana Gleizner from the Faculty of Architecture at Wrocław University of Technology took part in the Architecture at Zero competition. This year's challenge was the design of a low-carbon, eco-friendly agricultural center and housing for farmers in Allensworth, California. Their ECOZONE project, made with rammed earth technology and taking advantage of the terrain, won the Citation Award.

The Architecture at Zero competition is organized annually by American associations and institutions, including: Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and the American Institiute of Architects California (AIA CA). The goal of the competition is to promote low-carbon, zero-energy buildings that meet the requirements of the California Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Standards. In addition to the architectural study, participants are also required to prepare a technical section describing the environmentally friendly ideas and strategies used in the project.

Po południowej stronie budynków znajdują się miejsca na uprawy sezonowe

On the south side of the buildings there are spaces for seasonal crops

© Wojciech Bandyk, Roksana Gleizner

This year's competition theme was to create a project focused on decarbonization, resilience, environmental responsibility and equity. The competition was aimed at high school and college students as well as professionals. The challenge was to design an agricultural center that combines the history of the first city founded by black people in California with its current aspirations to become a center for sustainable agriculture. All participants were asked to design an innovative farm with an educational center. In addition, students and professionals were to design housing for employees and students of the agricultural center.

Projekt ECOZONE, plan zagospodarowania terenu

ECOZONE project, site plan

© Wojciech Bandyk, Roksana Gleizner

The competition emphasized four aspects: creating an overall site plan and aligning it with the program, emphasizing any strategies or systems presented for energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy storage and carbon reduction. The agricultural center building was to be designed to reduce carbon emissions.

Participants were also asked to complete a table outlining climate change adaptation strategies and identify design strategies that support resilience. The final aspect was to consider how the design addresses equality in the community.

Autorzy zaprojektowali również zielone dachy

The authors also designed green roofs

© Wojciech Bandyk, Roksana Gleizner

award for students of Wrocław University of Technology

The submitted works were evaluated by an international jury consisting of: Lance Collins (architect, AIA), Mary Ann Lazarus (architect, Cameron MacAllister Group), Dr. Paul Torcellini (National Renewable Energy Laboratory), Allison Grace Williams (AGWms_studio). The jury evaluated the works from technical (energy indicators) and architectural points of view. Awards were given in the categories of high school students, college students and professionals. You can check the full list of awarded projects on the competition website. In thegraduate student category, the Citation Award went to Wojciech Bandyk and Roksana Gleizner. Their ECOZONE project was prepared under the guidance of Dr. Anna Berbesz, Dr. Ewa Cisek and Dr. Kajetan Sadowski.

Głównym materiałem konstrukcyjnym jest ubijana ziemia

The main construction material is rammed earth

© Wojciech Bandyk, Roksana Gleizner

rammed earth agricultural center

Our proposal focuses on the use of the goods offered to us by the organizers' proposed environment, which is primarily soil. It served us as the main building material, dictated the design principles and showed us the hidden potential of the space. By using rammed earth (rammed earth) construction, we minimized material transportation issues and relied on dynamic topography of the site, taking advantage of the depressions left behind after the excavation," the award-winning students said.

Projekt ECOZONE, rzut

ECOZONE project, projection

© Wojciech Bandyk, Roksana Gleizner

Thanks to such measures, the authors created an environmentally friendly center building. Elements that helped them achieve high energy efficiency results included shading panels, built-in seasonal greenhouses integral to the building, numerous arcades and natural shades, rainwater tanks located in the earthen embankments, and basins and depressions designed for abundant rainfall.

W licznych podcieniach znajdują się również miejsca na uprawy

The numerous arcades also provide space for growing crops

© Wojciech Bandyk, Roksana Gleizner

community integration

The specific geometry of the buildings and their placement on the site plan is not coincidental; we have taken into account sunlight issues and used them to our advantage. The entire complex is intended to be an integral part of the farmland and farm located in the south of the proposed plot and include a residential and a commercial area, Wojciech and Roxana add.

The building located in the northern part of the plot houses a store with local products and a bar. The western part includes a residential pavilion with two types of rooms and a community kitchen, with seasonal greenhouses separating them. Meanwhile, the authors located the building with offices and lecture halls in the eastern part.

Projekt ECOZONE utrzymany jest w surowej formie

The ECOZONE project is maintained in a strict form

© Wojciech Bandyk, Roksana Gleizner

In the southern parts of the buildings, the designers located a semi-public staircase, with space for seasonal crops. According to the authors, this treatment fosters closer neighborhood ties and stimulates community formation, which was one of the guidelines of the competition. It is also for this reason that there are numerous paths, recreational areas and greenhouses in the development area.

zero-emission and multiplication

Given the context, we stripped the design of excessive decorative aspects and focused on leaving as many materials as possible in their unaltered form, making the facilities look more raw and natural. Green roofs were enhanced with photovoltaic panel installations, which is part of the very important issue of zero carbonity of the designed establishment. The strong point of the project, for which we managed to win the award, was the approach to playing with the topography of the site and creating multiplication of the premise within the framework of the possible planned development of the farm, as well as the dynamic composition and materials used, the authors conclude.

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