When the Chartwell School decided to remodel their Monterey Bay campus, a primary goal was to use the new architecture to help develop “sustainability natives” – kids for whom sustainability is second nature. In response, EHDD Architecture created a campus with a multitude of hands-on and visible learning opportunities which allow these first through eighth graders, all of whom have language-related learning challenges such as dyslexia, to understand the ideas behind sustainable design through an educational process suited to their cognitive strengths. Exposed mechanical systems and an interactive rainwater catchment system let the students experience first hand how water and air moves through the buildings and gardens, the reveals how different building elements are shaped and attached to each other, and a multitude of reused materials, particularly wood from the decommissioned military base where the school now stands as well as wood from the region’s olive oil and wine industries, create a tactile historical narrative of the site.
Reclaimed Materials (by application): Wood/Lumber, Foundation Sub Base
Additional Reuse Highlights
— Architect Scott Shell of EHDD Architecture had renovated many schools over the course of his career and was aware of the considerable waste that often results because components like windows and wood framing weren’t designed or installed in a manner that allowed for easy replacement. Aware of the priority his client placed on building for a sustainable future, Shell brought design for disassembly (DfD) expert Brad Guy onto the project team.
— EHDD and Brad Guy were awarded the U.S. EPA’s Waste Reduction Grant to conduct an in-depth analysis of material choices and DfD concepts for Chartwell School. This analysis allowed the design team to develop an effective DfD strategy to allow the school to be easily reconfigured down the road, if its needs should change.
— To achieve the DfD goal of maximizing the materials’ capacity to be reused in the future, the project team was mindful to reduce the use of unique pieces by building on modules as well as reducing the number of attachments required by using fewer, larger structural members. Where attachments were required, they used fastening systems that did not damage the materials as screws or nails would. Electrical conduit and mechanical systems were also routed around structural materials rather than through holes in the materials as is typical. The client, contractor, and architect all participated in locating materials for reuse. They also partnered with TerraMai, a supplier of reclaimed wood, for many of the woods used on the project. Working with reclamation experts gave the team access to a wide selection of materials, making it is easier to find exactly what was specified, as well as access to off-site storage for these materials until they were needed.
— Reclaimed materials included wine and olive oil casks for exterior cladding, lumber salvaged from the old barracks on site and a San Francisco company’s discarded wood flooring for interior paneling, deconstructed railroad trestles for bench tops in the courtyard, and a 12’ tall Monterey Cypress trunk as a structural column at the classroom building entry atrium, among others.
— The Chartwell School was the first educational campus to be awarded LEED-NC Platinum certification from the USGBC. The amount of reused material in the project was enough to earn both LEED credits for resource reuse (MR 3.1 and 3.2) as well as the regional materials credit (MR 5).
Location: Seaside, CA
Year completed: 2006
Architect: EHDD Architecture
Client: Chartwell School
Contractor: Ausonio, Inc.
Design for Reuse Primer (page 39)