Morphosis have designed a new office for themselves – the largest net-zero building in Los Angeles and the most eco-friendly in the country. The fairly rectangular structure is located just a few feet from the new light rail Expo Line’s elevated tracks in Culver City. It significantly reduces loads through several low-tech, high-tech, and even revolutionary techniques, most of which were developed with engineers at Buro Happold, whose LA offices are just down the street.
The building features a giant 2,800 square foot solar array atop the nearby parking canopy. One of its greenest features was derived from the use of windcatchers, an ancient desert technique: air passes into the building between giant cross blades on the roof and pulls the hot air up on the other side. Vents are automatically connected to solar-powered sensors that control their position, depending on the temperature inside the building. To limit solar heat gain the building’s east and south facades are solid. And further limiting the impact of the sun, even when it comes in at a low angle, a series of acrylic and galvanized steel shades cover the building’s sun-facing edges to create a pleasant outdoor gathering space for employees. The shades, which jut dramatically from the building’s core, also serve as testing zone for future projects, and are currently fitted with mock-ups of the panels from Morphosis’ Emerson College building in Hollywood, currently in development.