A friend of mine once described Yoga as the “relationship of the spine to the earth”. By a similar measure, Peter Rose + Partners’ housing for the Kripalu Centre for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge Massachusetts, might be described as that institution’s relationship with the earth. The project not only provides accommodation for the institution, but it also sets a benchmark or cornerstone that encapsulates the institution’s core values and its approach to nature, the environment, life and health. At least as far as architecture could ever do such a thing!
At the heart of the project is a sophisticated site strategy that allows a harvesting of air, light, views and inspiration for the users of the building. And, despite its prominent location, the building will recede away into into its woodland setting as its Cypress timber cladding turns silver grey, and its landscaping matures into its surroundings.
From inside, modulations in the plan help to “edit” the existing buildings from views across the landscape. The effect is a sense of isolation with nature. Looking from outside, the beautifully detailed sliding sun screens edit out the glazing from distant views where it might otherwise look intrusive in the landscape.
A sort of post Buckminster Fuller philosophy of using as little material as possible informs the big moves, and many of the small details. In the bigger picture, this approach created a building with a floor area reduced by some 30% compared to similar buildings, and one that uses 40% less energy than the typical.
The building’s climate relies on the use of thermally massive concrete structural elements which are enveloped in a highly insulated rainscreen cladding. Operable windows provide ventilation as well as that direct connection with nature that air conditioned, hermetically sealed buildings loose.
The building incorporates 80 guest rooms, a small lobby and a multi-purpose function room.
Peter Rose + Partners is a practice from Boston, Massachusetts that is achieving international recognition for its environmentally intelligent, and architecturally thoughtful projects. Today we have two posts that explores the practice’s work. This project was suggested by Peter Rose as best exemplifying its approach to sustainable architecture.
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