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Sustainability-The Future is Here and It s Full of Holes


by Leslie McKerns

The future of building technology is here and it"s full of holes. The Swiss cheese exoskeleton shell of COR, the first sustainable, mixed use condominium in Miami, Florida is a hyper-efficient smart skin simultaneously providing the building structure, thermal mass for insulation, shading for natural cooling, terrace enclosures, armatures for energy producing turbines, and loggias for congregating at the ground level.

COR, represents a dynamic synergy between architecture, structural engineering and ecology. The design is not only revolutionary in sustainable terms, but in visual impact. The impression of this building is arresting even in light of the current architectural trend towards irregular, non-linear features exploding upon the recent architectural landscape.

The building rises 400 feet, and seems to float over the city as a futuristic and ethereal being, punctuated by a multitude of round Swiss Cheese holes, which at times come together to form a living bubble-on-pond effect.

The architect credits the developer for being receptive to the unusual design wherein the structure of the building is both the skin and an aperture to hold the wind turbines. Oppenheim notes that COR evolved from a complex architectural study including careful analysis of its site.

The surprise of the design arises from its functionality and its vision in creating an energy efficient sustainable building. Oppenheim states that he views building materials as opportunities to provide dual uses-for example, the skin of COR is not just cladding, it provides an armature for wind turbines, protection from the sun and forms an arcade at the ground level.

Rising 400", or 25 stories above Miami"s Design District, COR extracts power from its environment utilizing the latest in advancements in wind turbines, photovoltaic technology and solar hot water generation.

With an estimated completion date of 2010, COR is 480,000 square feet, with 113 residential units ranging in size from 700 to 2,000 sf, with prices from $300,00 to 1 million. COR will have a cafй, 2 restaurants, office space and live work galleries.

Sustainable design is architecture that creates a minimal impact on the environment and makes maximum and intelligent use of the world"s dwindling resources. Sustainability and green design also includes creating healthy indoor environments.

Water is becoming the new frontier for concern, both through density and drought. Green and sustainable elements in COR include water harvesting, capturing rain water and roof run-off in cisterns, using filtration systems in recycling grey water produced from washing machines, dishwashers and other household and light business use, and filtering it for use again as irrigation.

The wind farm on the roof of COR will generate power-reducing dependency on electric power and saving energy by producing solar hot water. Energy efficient appliances with energy star features will be using less water overall. LED lighting will be used instead of incandescent, natural daylight will flood interiors through energy efficient glass, and the multi use building shell provides thermal mass for insulation and shading for outdoor terraces and cooking.

COR has been received with applause. Unanimously approved by the Urban Design Review Board of the City of Miami, the project represents the ideals fostered by Miami Mayor, Manny Diaz for its properties of green and ecologically sustainable sound design. Oppenheim is a part of Mayor Diaz" Green Committee.

Oppenheim notes that this project may represent solutions for the concerns of global warming, dwindling resources such as land and water, and competition for fewer and fewer resources. Certainly it blazes across the new frontier of sustainability.




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