Michael Aronson's TT Sustainable Building Design

Michael Aronson is a BS/MS student in his final year of studies at Northwestern, and is particularly interested in the intersection of architecture and structural engineering.  These dual interests led him to pursue a unique project in his recent course CIV_ENV 395: High Performance Building Design.  The design team, consisting of Michael, Kunhao He and Manos Proussaloglou, approached the task of rehabilitating an existing building located at 2020 Ridge Ave in Evanston. Once a Tinker Toy factory and currently the offices of Northwestern’s facilities management team, the building was to be converted into a new architecture school. In designing the renovation, extensive focus was placed on passive sustainability strategies. A double-skin facade insulates the building as effectively as the original masonry facade while providing enough natural light to fully illuminate much of the building’s interior without the need for artificial lighting during daytime hours. A four-story atrium composes the building’s central area which, during the summer, acts as a solar chimney to naturally cool and ventilate the building. A greenhouse, which grows bamboo for furniture- and architectural-model-making, exists off the atrium on the top floor, cleaning the building’s air and further letting light into the building. Work was also done to preserve and, in some cases, restore the original industrial appearance of the building.