The RoGBC has a greener office space

December 22, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Posted in Events, Green Building Projects, Greening our Wokspace | Leave a comment
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On December 8, at the RoGBC Holiday party, we unveiled our new and greener headquarters. “Greening our Workspace” is an exciting pilot project developed over three phases, aiming to sustainably renovate and technically upgrade the building that hosts our organization.

The first Phase of the project took place between the middle of October and December 8th and had the main objective of remodeling the ground floor of the building in a flexible and green manner. The Romania Green Building Council is the venue that places everyone involved in the sustainable market under the same roof : students taking part at the “Romania Green Building Professional” Certification and Training platform, green building professionals  but also companies willing to showcase their newest sustainable products. Therefore, the existing space must be able to receive events with a lot of guests. This is meant to be a lively and comfortable space where people of various ages and professions gather to share information about a different kind of architecture, the environmentally responsible one.

The two stories (plus loft) villa on Ialomicioarei street is a mix of fragments of different ages. The oldest part of the building, dating  back in the 40’s, is comprised of two rooms situated two steps higher than the rest of the ground floor. The metal door used to be an exterior access until the ‘90s extension of the house and the window used to bring light into the space. However, at the beginning of the project, the former access room worked poorly as a kitchen without sink and the other room served only as a passing space to the other parts of the house. The RoGBC intervention proposed changing the layout of the entire area. Each of the two rooms got a separate access, the old kitchen became a new office/meeting room and the bigger room became a kitchen/dining table that opens towards the event room.

The project was developed based on the “Cradle-to-Cradle” principle, so each building element had to be integrated in a new life cycle in order to achieve a better waste management. For example, the architectural decision to create a new access for the future kitchen has translated itself into opportunities to reuse the on-site resources. The bricks that made up the window battlement were carefully deconstructed, piece by piece and rebuilt in order to form the new structure of the stairs, and the window placed horizontally becomes the new office reception.

The ceilings of the two small rooms were made with the traditional formula of wood strips covered in plaster and clay reinforced with cane. This mixture was used as a filler, it was watered and compressed in order to create the new access platform.

The wood strips that supported the ceiling were recovered,  existing nails were removed, strips were planed, treated and integrally reused. Some of them have become the pillars of the stair case connecting the ground floor with the first floor, respectively the first basement level with the ground floor and the rest make up the RoGBC “Christmas Tree” made with recovered nails and a metal pipe found in the attic, so all materials are local.

Our wish was to open-up the environment of the RoGBC’s office towards more optimistic approaches, closer to the organization’s goal. The solution chosen to cover the floor was the Tarkett linoleum provided by EPA System, which represents a successful combination between traditional materials – rapeseed oil, jute, natural resins and cork – and contemporary demands related to mechanical resistance and aspect. The existing laminated flooring, reddish color, was carefully removed, cleaned and partially donated, and partially reused. After leveling the support substrate with a self leveling screed, the Veneto xf linoleum was installed in all rooms.

The new visual identity of the event hall was however accomplished by not only introducing some radically new elements but also by the transfiguration of the existing furniture (covering with removable wrappers of different colors) and by positioning it within a different layout.

For the wall finishes we used the white skim TF1000 provided by Tassullo, as this was chosen due to its properties of adjusting the humidity in accordance to the environment and allowing the walls to breath.  The skim “Malta Fina” is a finish prepared of dead-lime and selected inert materials, with a maximum aggregate grading of 0,5 mm, for finishing the interior plasters based on hydraulic binders.

In the events area, and also in the meeting room, Hunter Douglas proposed an acoustic false ceiling made by aluminum elements with various sizes, harmonized with each other.

The two rooms with a changed function were the subject of a full rearrange. After freeing the ceiling from the clay and cane load, the wood beams that were discovered represented an aesthetically pleasing surprise. As the specialists from the structural engineering company Strucon Proiect evaluated the wood beams as being safe, it was decided to keep their appearance. Cleaned, planed and vanished in a good manner, the beams are telling a part of the history of the house.

The two doors – from which one is replacing the old one, while the second one is a new step in the house circuit –were chosen in such a way to allow the access of the natural light, and also to protect the intimacy of the interior spaces from the events area. The two sliding partitions provided by Etem Building Solutions are made by tempered glass and aluminum structure, an easily removed and recycled assembly at the end of life cycle of the elements.

Both rooms received a significant technological upgrade. In the kitchen, Electrolux took part on the project by donating the energy efficient home appliances from the Green range. Moreover, new lightning devices were proposed through the project realized by Eng. Dorin Beu from B-lightning and provided by Phillips for the whole surface of the ground floor.

New electrical circuits, and also traditional elements (sockets, switches, cable trays) were necessary for powering up all these. The company that offered the optimal solution was Schneider Electrics, and that implements an intelligent system for automating the electrical network in the whole building, starting with the 2nd phase of the project.

The kitchen won a sink an aerator filter and the possibility of metering the water flow, which saves water use, but the innovation doesn’t stop there. A cabinet was made by associate members and RoGBC employees using less conventional materials. Parquet strips recovered from the floor coming from the event room were “covered” in cardboard measuring 2,5 mm (100% recycled) and painted here and there. This sandwich was then cut by a model, and the resulted pieces were merged together by the traditional process of interlocking using as additional stiffening elements some wood strips recovered from the former kitchen ceiling. Both the adhesive that served as binder and the paint are products provided by the company Kerakoll.

The new paintings are works signed by Ruxandra Raileanu, who chose in order to create them a theme inspired by the world of biology and natural materials.

In terms of decoration, RoGBC team has shown creativity and thinking outside the box. Until delivering the final solution for lighting, the lamps in the kitchen and the new office had to be protected, so it came the idea of manufacturing an exclusive shade made by using the materials that we already had there. Thus, we made a lamp from several Igloo magazine issues, and it still allows us to read the articles. The other shade was improvised from some reinforcing fabric mesh used to plaster the facades (provided by building team leader from Select Mandexim) and some dishes made from corn starch, common in RoGBC properties.

The decorations for the Christmas tree were also exclusively made from paper surplus found in our office coming from brochures, catalogs or old magazines.

But certainly the most meaningful for RoGBC is the so-called “truth window” located on the visual axis of the room access. Rather than getting rid of them, we chose to integrate here considering a point of maximum visibility, a great part of the waste or the items “discovered” on the construction field, along with materials that have become characteristic for this project. Thus, on a cardboard, clamped to the columns which held the linoleum rollers, are found some pieces of bricks, stone, wood strips and pieces of old tiles – all visually enhanced by the window which was located until yesterday in the existing kitchen wall.

More information to follow shortly.

“Only God can make a tree… but the RoGBC came close” 🙂


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