Case Studies

Studio RED Architects

Sustainability in architecture

Maintaining green practices while simultaneously operating a successful business can be difficult; however, Studio RED Architects (SRA) has proven that it’s up to the challenge. Sustainability is an extremely important component to the company’s architectural strategy, especially as it pertains to clients in the non-profit sector. SRA finds creative and innovative ways to be design conscious, economically conscious and environmentally conscious in order to assist its clients, providing the opportunity to incorporate green elements while maintaining budgetary goals.

SRA provides a range of services for its clients. “We are a full architectural firm, which includes design, master planning and interior design,” explains Micah Simecek, principal of SRA. “As architects, we feel it is our duty to be efficient and economical as we are often the stewards of money for non-profit entities.”

The good of the client

For SRA, sustainability is not just a buzz word for eco-friendly design; it’s also a concept that transcends from economics and the environment. “Our goal is not always to accomplish LEED certification, but about employing the right strategies in the design and construction of buildings to be impactful for the entities they serve,” details Simecek.

SRA has employed these strategies and has been extremely beneficial to its community. One of the projects that SRA worked on was the University of Houston Clear Lake, in Pearland, Texas. The city and the university were adamant that the project save energy and water in order to create a healthy indoor environment for the students, staff and visitors.

SRA designed the building to align with LEED standards and then developed a tracking and documentation system to allow for metrics to measure the expected savings for the client. SRA taught Sustainability 101 courses to the contractor’s staff so all parties were on board and educated about the green goals of the project.

Studio RED ArchitectsChallenges and opportunities

In order to better assist clients through the company’s very specific goals and aspirations, SRA created REDefine, a visioning process in which principals facilitate group brainstorming sessions involving all team members. The purpose of the sessions is to generate design solutions that benefit the project and the client. The mandatory and all-hands meeting includes the client, engineers, consultants and every member of the design team.

“We trademarked this term and it’s a project-focused mindset that our partners and principals employ to identify challenges and opportunities,” Simecek details. “We then sort them for their applicability and viability for a project before tackling them in the design solution.”

LEED-certified projects

Sustainability was largely important for The Treehouse Memorial City project, which boasts many green elements, including a rooftop garden complete with solar panels; interior wood flooring that was reclaimed from the Old Cotton Concentration Company warehouses in Galveston, Texas; exterior wood paneling made of Machiche wood that was harvested from South America and is FSC-certified; a conference room table made from a local tree trunk slab; outdoor furniture made of recycled plastic bottles; and a geothermal heating and cooling system.

As a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), SRA is proud to announce that the company is tracking to receive USGBC’s LEED Platinum certification for its work on the project. “We are tracking well above LEED Platinum status on both the core and shell and interiors of this project,” Simecek says with pride. “There’s a good chance we’ll be in the top percentage of LEED-certified projects in our region.”

Another of SRA’s LEED-certified projects was the Amazing Place Senior Center, which is a 13,000-square-foot adult day care facility and memory center that houses 60 participants in early and middle stages of Alzheimer’s and related dementia. The LEED-certified efforts for the project used local and regional materials and entailed numerous sustainable features, including low-VOC interior products for improved indoor air quality, water-saving plumbing fixtures, high efficiency HVAC systems, occupancy sensors and water-saving irrigation and planting to create a healthy environment for the residents.

Higher level of service

As a full service architectural firm, the company has done remarkably well progressing as an environmentally conscious company. SRA offers its clients the rare combination of the depth and experience associated with a large firm while simultaneously providing the direct principal involvement of a small one.

“We deliver a higher level of service to our clients compared to other firms,” Simecek explains. “Our partners and principals, who enjoy being able to design and manage projects, maintain a one-on-one relationship with our clients.”

Providing sustainability services, including assistance with site selection, greening of operations of a building and evaluating how sustainable designs aligns with the client, is just one of the ways that SRA separates itself from its competition.

Founded by four partners who had a vision of excellence created by a company focused on architecture, rather than business and profits; Studio RED Architects has achieved that and more.

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Spring 2018



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