Retrofitting A Dream
Setting a 21st century standard for design sustainability while preserving all the charm and character of a handsome, century-old structure was the dual objective proposed by the firm’s founders.
Every space along the second level of this former girls’ school was thoughtfully re-imagined and repurposed with contemporary sustainable practices in mind. Solatube tubular daylight devices (TDDs) allow for ‘daylight harvesting’: permitting the transferral of sunlight from the outside in—bathing the entire office (even the windowless interiors) with natural light. Inverter air conditioners provide 20 SEER high-efficiency, low-noise, environmentally-friendly cooling. Advanced Lutron technology employs interconnected daylight sensors, dimmers, occupancy sensors, and ballast-controlled, electrical power management systems to conserve energy while maintaining optimal working conditions throughout the premises.
Retrofitted to meet strict environmental standards established by the U.S. Green Building Council, the new offices were awarded a LEED® Platinum certification: the first for any architecture and interior design firm in Latin America, and a status currently shared by only twenty-two other buildings in Puerto Rico.
What might surprise first-time visitors to the office is the panache with which this commitment to sustainable practices has been deployed in all three dimensions.
Neutral colors predominate: creating a blank canvas against which the actual work of the firm is allowed to shine. Walls are light gray, almost white. Art work adorning the walls is black-and-white. Custom millwork is charcoal. Conference tables are white.
Occasional pops of color turn up in expected places—and tend to be bold and green: a fitting metaphor for the work of this dynamic firm.
The net result is a healthier environment, lower operating costs, maximum water and energy conservation, waste minimization, and a significant reduction of the firm’s carbon footprint.
“Beauty and sustainability are highly compatible concepts. You see the two entwined in Nature every day. We just wanted to bring that same philosophy—indoors.”
– AD&V founders