Monday, December 22, 2008

Stefan Behnisch in Baltimore

Rendering of the proposed law school in Baltimore by Behnisch.

This time last month, the University of Baltimore was announcing that Germany's Behnisch Architekten would design their new $107 million law school on the corner of Charles Street and Mount Royal near Baltimore's Penn Station. This month, writer Stephen Zacks profiles Behnisch in the December issue of Metropolis magazine. It gives a nice perspective on the architect's projects and his take on sustainable design, including the flaws of LEED:

"Behnisch has criticized the U.S. Green Building Council’s method of calculating environmental quality using point values that have no relation to energy consumption. German codes are performance based, specifying minimum thermal conservation and maximum energy use depending on the building type, with formulas for calculating solar gains, ventilation, heating, air-conditioning, hot water, and built-in lighting systems."

(This is something that I have always questioned: how we can we build effectively when the built environment profession in the United States is not encouraged to do post-occupancy studies? We have no true sense of how "green" buildings in the U.S. function.)

Be sure to click on the photos at the right of the article to see a gallery of projects, like this bank building below. I love the angle of the glass wall and the way the steps in the background rise up from another angular floor plane...

Landesgirokasse Bank Administration; Stuttgart, Germany, 1997.