Jim meets Alyson on a brisk November morning in Old North Saint Louis as Jim leaves for work. Along with Alfonso, a mutual friend and owner of a local bakery, the three of them will live, work, and find love within the walls of HRR. Harvest, Recycle, Reuse (HRR) is a fantastic example of sustainable strategies combined to serve small apartments above a craft bakery and a trendy restaurant + bar, standing out through it’s integration of sustainability, community service, and flexible program through design. While serving the people and programs within, the 13,500 sqft building utilizes new technology and old practices to optimize energy use and generation to better serve its users and the environment, reaching an estimated 30 kBTU/sqft. With flexibility, efficiency, and reuse in mind from the very beginning, HRR is designed to serve the users of today and tomorrow. Explore HRR by following Jim, Alyson, and Alfonso as they spend a day interacting in the building’s spaces, and dive in deeper by reviewing the process and elements that come together.
Measure 1: Design and Innovation
HRR started with the central goal of combining solutions to the Saint Louis environmental conditions with flexible programming and local contextual issues in a single design. The design development process followed a series of push and pull moves that took a number of factors into consideration; from the orientation to the sun and prevailing summer/winter winds to the utilization of sun shading, stack ventilation and trombe walls, and a PV-integrated brise soleil system. These moves were complemented by design moves that help HRR engage the street life, interact with the local flora and the adjacent rain garden, and utilization of some fantastic views of the neighborhood and beyond.
Measure 2: Regional/Community Design
Old North St. Louis over the years has become a deserted area with numerous vacant lots that are begging for densification. By working with the community development organization of Old North St. Louis, HRR provides an engagement to the community on both N. 14th street and Monroe while providing both public and private spaces to revitalize the area. HRR also allows for a connection to the existing transportation throughout the greater city by the acknowledgment of building orientation to the local public transport bus routes a block away. Building orientation take advantage of the great views to create an ideal space for the community to enjoy the great views of the the St. Louis arch down N. 14th street as well as a old German church down Monroe St.
Measure 3: Land Use and Site Ecology
HRR sits in an ideal location adjacent to an existing rain garden installed a few years ago which utilizes the rain garden to collect the rainwater runoff and connect to the larger St. Louis water system. By reducing the building footprint on the site, a row of trees and vegetation has been placed along the southern side of the building at an ideal distance to provide shade for outdoor seating without blocking the sun rays to be captured in the integrated photovoltaics system on the brisole on the south side of the building.
Measure 4: Bioclimatic Design
HRR uses several systems to maintain comfort throughout the year. These systems include a trombe wall and stack ventilation, operable windows, brise soleil, zoning of programs, and materiality. Each season requires each of these systems to function in a different way to maintain comfort. Starting with the 11% of the year Saint Louis is comfortable, HRR utilizes a brise soleil and sun shading system (12%), thermal mass and trombe walls (29%), stack & cross ventilation (9%), and solar heat gain to make 55% of the year comfortable through passive strategies. With the reuse of heat generated in the kitchen and bakery, the demand on active systems is further reduced in colder conditions. While the building is heating dominated, the combination of these strategies allows HRR to reduce loads.
Measure 5: Light and Air
The conditioning and movement of air and access to daylighting was a focus in the design of HRR. Starting with a series of massing push/pull moves to allow for better cross ventilation along with placement of automated and operable windows, users experience a 5% increase in comfortable design hours. The utilization of the trombe walls and sun shading for the summer allows 45% of the total hours to be comfortable. Lighting through optimized glazing provides daylighting on the northern and western facades. On the southern facade, in the restaurant atrium in specific, a brise soleil system brings in daylight and heat during heating months and acts as a series of light shelves in the cooling months. Shading systems including operable blinds help reduce glare throughout the better lit spaces. 45% of the building has a daylight factor between 2% and 5% and 85% of the spaces within have access to daylight.
Measure 6: Water Cycle
Rainwater collection and distribution creates a strong visual connection to the adjacent rain garden to HRR by providing natural filtration for excess water to percolate and collect that is not needed throughout the building services. A large tank located under the building provides storage of the rainwater collected that is later fed back through for use for the green roof and roof garden. Stored water is also cycled through a solar heating system during the day and a geothermal loop in the afternoon to reduce heating loads using latent ground heat.
Measure 7: Energy Flows and Energy Future
HRR aims to reuse any energy generated or collected through active systems throughout the building by collecting the unused heat from the ovens in the bakery and restaurant and reradiating the collected heat through the building throughout the day. The trombe walls on the south facades of the building radiate heat through the building during the winter time, while the heat from the ovens during the summer creates a stack effect of the trombe wall during the summer for the collected heat to discharge. Cross ventilation is utilized throughout the building to maintain comfort throughout the different programmatic zones.
Measure 8: Materials and Construction
The materiality of HRR is a combination of the traditional materials of the region, historically and programmatically, with the newer materials and technology that come with high performance buildings. The northern half of the building is made up of traditional brick walls with a steel studded frame, utilizing thicker and heavier walls to keep the building stable while insulating from the harsh winter and summer conditions. The brick has a special connection to the urban fabric in the city of Saint Louis and the neighborhood, integrating it as a partially recycled material from existing buildings slated for demolition. The southern half of the building features a combination of channel glass and a customized brise soleil system that provides solar shading while generating energy with an integrated solar photovoltaic implementation.
Measure 9: Long Life and Loose Fit
As a result of researching the Old North Saint Louis neighborhood and it’s collection of historic buildings, HRR was designed to allow for a flexible program, making sure that spaces laid out as residences for example, could be replaced by office space as the neighborhood needs evolve. The initial program was set by the current needs of the neighborhood, focusing on more intensive programs to ensure that the building can perform for equally or less demanding programs as the building serves it’s users over the years. By bringing the structural system into column grid and stacking services such as HVAC and water/waste, HRR users can move partition walls as needed to allow for a variety of programs.
Measure 10: Collective Wisdom and Feedback Loops
HRR is the culmination of many ideas and theories on design, both in environmental/sustainable terms as well as design development. The precedent for the project was the OS House by Johnsen Schmaling Architects, an AIA COTE Top Ten project. Studying the use of the push-pull design process while taking into consideration passive systems gave insight into how a larger scale building could be started. HRR utilizes a variety of passive and active systems that subtly hint at how the building and it’s performative systems work. From the thin integrated PV on the brise soleil visible in and outside the restaurant and bar spaces to the trombe walls, users can pick up on how the building starts to reduce it’s loads on the grid for energy.