SOM has received three 2016 Emerald Awards from the United States Green Building Council – Illinois Chapter (USGBC-Illinois). Two awards recognize SOM projects, while a third recognizes a member of the SOM team. The Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy (AMIE 1.0) demonstration project and the Chicago Public Library, Chinatown Branch were both recognized with awards in Green Building Innovation. Also, SOM Associate Director Arathi Gowda was honored with the Chapter Mission Award, a designation created to recognize professionals working to implement carbon reduction strategies in Chicago neighborhoods.
The AMIE 1.0 demonstration project is a research and design collaboration between SOM and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Highly energy efficient, the 3D-printed building was designed by SOM to produce and store renewable power and to share energy wirelessly with a 3D-printed vehicle, which was developed by the DOE. The project illustrates the potential of a clean energy future by achieving independence from the power grid during peak-demand times.
The Chinatown Branch of the Chicago Public Library serves as a new civic, educational, and social hub for Chicago’s Chinatown neighborhood, providing a public gathering place geared toward inclusive community activities and driven by technology-based learning. Throughout the design process, SOM worked closely with Chicago Public Library officials to identify opportunities for programmatic overlap, thereby increasing the flexibility and projected use of many of the building’s spaces. Through the glass curtain wall, the highly visible Chicago skyline places the patrons firmly within their city, and within the symbolic heart of the Chinatown community.
Arathi Gowda, SOM Associate Director, is responsible for championing environmental best practices during the design and construction phases of architecture, planning, and interior projects. She focuses on helping project teams realize integrated design solutions that consider the impacts of the built environment on multiple scales, from infrastructure to the embodied energy of building materials. "Her role as an educator, practitioner and advocate in the field of planning and architecture have helped to advance the role sustainable infrastructure can play in strengthening neighborhoods," said USGBC-Illinois.