Resilient Design Designer Adria Lake delves into her personal experiences of building a new home and company headquarters to explain her thinking on how resilient design can help us assimilate disruptions, unpredictability, and instability into our lives… and thrive
e spend most of our time in built environments. Our homes, places of work, public spaces – even parks and outdoor spaces we retreat or escape to – are designed and built for our comfort and safety. Yet the rise of auto-immune and lifestyle diseases and sick building syndrome indicate that we’re not built for the constant homeostasis of modern living. Our muscles, heart, lungs and immune system evolved to respond and adapt to internal and external threats and changes. While we may prefer comfort and stability, our biological systems require a degree of unpredictability or stress to remain healthy and strong. Resilience is hard wired in all of us and bolstering our resilience – the ability to adapt and thrive in any environment – is the aim of Resilience-based Wellness® (RbW®), a concept and approach we launched in 2016. Discovering ways to define and apply resilience in our design and lives became the driving force behind the creation of our new home and company headquarters. This is our story …
LEARNING TO ADAPT Building on a mountain peak in northern Colorado was never originally on the agenda. But now that we’re here, there’s no other place in the world we’d rather be. Looking out of the panoramic windows of our home and taking in the unobstructed views of the majestic Rocky mountains reminds us that we’re but a small, insignificant speck on this vast landscape.
How we designed and built our home and headquarters made a huge difference to the way we live and work (See Living with Resilient Design on page 139). Marc Gerritsen, my partner and principal architect of MAAD Design, explains: “Finding a suitable location on which to build was a challenge, as the steep, rocky mountain slope offered limited construction space. “There were many factors to consider. The building site we chose, while sheltered on the north side, is exposed to high winds, hail and snow storms on the other three, and is also vulnerable to wild fire, water shortages, intense year-round sun exposure and massive snow loads in winter.” Safeguarding the buildings from all unpredictable conditions and threats in such a location would have been impossible. Instead, Marc designed robust structures that adapt to their surrounding and will continue to function in the face of all types of disruptions. Take the monolithic, ark-like shape of the main building, for example. “Having spent time in the Alps, I knew a massive slanted wall with large panoramic windows would allow the sunlight to heat the building in the winter and give it an aerodynamic form that allowed 150 mile-an-hour winds to glide over it,” he says. Adaptability also meant choosing durable materials for the build, such as copper, raw untreated steel and hardwood, which require low maintenance and will age beautifully when exposed to extreme weather. Marc also used a hybrid construction method and installed both simple and redundant systems to supply heat, water, and power to the site (See Resilient Methods on page 141).