Founded in 2007, Emersion DESIGN has since been one of the keenest advocates for sustainable architectural design. From net-zero energy to biophilic designs, the Cincinnati-based company has pushed the bar of sustainability in the field of architectural design to new heights. Most notably, Emersion DESIGN has along with others spearheaded the effort in making Cincinnati certify as a 2030 district, therefore compelling the district to be more carbon-neutral. Apart from architectural design, the company also researches different aspects of sustainability in design, and these ideas are often seen in their built projects from the past and in the future. Here are ten of their iconic projects:
1.Cincinnati Police Department District 3 Station
Serving 14 neighborhoods, an effort was made to make the police station both socially and environmentally sustainable. Public art is integrated into the station, with the icons of each neighborhood served featured on the station’s columns, windows, and wall art. Also, the station is designed to be net-zero energy as it produces the energy it consumes in a year, and by June 2019, it is officially certified to be a net-zero energy building by the International Living Future Institute’s Living Building Challenge.
2.Longworth Wing, Cincinnati Art Museum
The Longworth Wing is the new name for the former Art Academy Wing of the Cincinnati Art Museum after its renovation by Emersion DESIGN. The design paid homage to the original building, keeping original elements such as a two-story exterior stone wall. Recycled materials such as carpet remnants were also reused in the building, thus keeping note of their sustainable practices in architecture. Despite the recycling, the interior space was drastically changed for the better as the architects opened up spaces to encourage collaborative work and to create a human-friendly environment. The wing is also net-zero energy ready and has received the LEED Gold certification.
Being the first net-zero energy school building in the midwest of the USA is only one of the things Emersion DESIGN can boast about their design of the Bethany School. The design is also biophilic, which, inspired by human’s innate need to associate themselves with nature, encourages the connection between the two. With features such as large windows, carpets reminiscent of a forest floor, as well as wood seatings that look out to mother nature, the school’s environment can positively influence young minds and their mental health, thus providing a better space for students to flourish and grow.
4.Art Climb, Cincinnati Art Museum
Besides being a staircase that connects the museum’s parking lot and the intersection of Eden Park Drive and Gilbert Avenue in Cincinnati, social amenities such as picnic tables and benches and performance spaces are also part of the Art Climb. The ‘Art’ in its name refers to the landscape around the climb, as nature becomes the focus and a piece of artwork. The stairs themselves have an irregular edge so they intertwine and blend with the surrounding plants. Stacked precast walls nearby also echo the local limestone’s strata.
5.Muntz Hall, University of Cincinnati’s Blue Ash College
The renovation of the Muntz Hall has not only bought a splash of color but also made it a lot more transparent and open thus allowing the faculty to scrap the plan of a new 20,000 square foot addition. The new hall had become an inviting and enjoyed space for students and professors alike. The building is also environmentally sustainable with the use of sustainably sourced materials and energy-efficient designs such as windows that bring plenty of daylight indoors.
6.AeroHub Innovation District
Aerohub is an advanced manufacturing district that encourages innovation. The core of the district houses education and conference centers, workforce development incubators, and schools that develop technological experts. The surrounding areas include cafes and bars. The district is also highly bikeable and walkable. This planning of the district allows both intense research and networking at the core, as well as casual and easygoing exchanges, which boosts the innovative atmosphere in the district.
7.Center for Community Engagement, LADD
The center is the main space for teaching disabled adults to live independently. Inspired by LADD’s motto ‘different just like you’, the idea is deeply ingrained in the design of the building. The coating on the exterior of the building reflects light differently at different angles and shows different colors, and the floor plan can only be fully seen once one enters the building. With such specific ideas in mind, the building is one of a kind and tailor-made for LADD.
8.Information Technology Complex, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
The ITC houses state of the art hardware for the enhancement of weapon system life-cycle acquisition and support capabilities. While able to house supercomputers for numerous purposes as one of just four supercomputing sites in the USA, the complex is environmentally sustainable as it has received the LEED Gold certification.
9.Schmidlapp Gallery, Cincinnati Art Museum
Emersion DESIGN’s renovation of the gallery honors the artwork by juxtaposing it with simplistic vitrines and windows as they are adjacent to each other, creating an interesting conversation between the natural world – as just outside the window is the Bimel Courtyard – and the gallery’s collection. With the special UV blocking glass, the artwork is protected without sacrificing the exciting design.
10.Cincinnati Regional Headquarters, American Red Cross
Back in 2011, Emersion DESIGN already had the ambition of building environmentally sustainable architecture with the use of sustainable technologies, such as having a bioswale on its rooftop, which allows the reuse of 90% of the water that falls on the building. The headquarters is net-zero energy ready and is the first American Red Cross headquarters to receive a LEED gold certification. As the Red Cross is a non-profit charity, this is especially useful as it allows the organization to cut down on costs for electricity bills, water bills, and repair fees.