A New Path Forward

Material innovation is the focus of this class but when looking at a wider lense, innovation is a strong focus with the new transition in architecture towards a more sustainable approach to the changing world. In a previous class, the Grand Rapids Art Museum was the focus for a semesters long study in why this building stood out as sustainable. To begin, the museum was the first registered museum with a LEED certification. Though the materials implemented in the building where not new to the field of architecture, the way that the materials where altered made the building efficient enough to qualify for the LEED standards that they achieved. This building opened the eyes of many other firms, that new innovations didn’t have to be implemented, but altering common technology to better suit a building could make it more efficient than ever thought possible. Instead of tearing down the city block that the building was built upon, the designer, (wHY Architecture) utilized a previous landscape design by Maya Lin, called ecliptic, to form an urban oasis within a rapidity developing city center of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The building also used heating coils within the sidewalks, as well as louvers, to avoid snow packing and light penetration that would damage the art. In the end, the Grand Rapids Art Museum took on the task of being the fist LEED certified museum and strove past those standards to pave the groundwork for other museums in its future, to reach the sustainable landmark modern day society has set forth.


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