In a recent flux of research laboratory constructs, a majority of the 21st century designs and new facilities fall under the sustainable category. But what makes a laboratory, or any other building, sustainable?
Green architecture is widely endorsed within the fields of residential, commercial businesses, community centers, and educational/research oriented buildings. One particular firm, HDR, Inc, has embraced the challenge of incorporating the needs of the global populations with the necessities of sustaining the environment in which these facilities are to be erected.
Now, rather sooner than one might have wished, that vision of a less-car-dependent populace is being put to the test. It's being called Carmageddon, the closure of the 405 Fwy through the heart of LA for an entire weekend this July 15th (at midnight) through the 17th. What will this human science experiment in the living laboratory tell us about Angelenos' prognosis for survival in a more sustainable world?
According to a UCLA Newsroom report entitled "The Day the 405 Stood Still":
At UCLA, shutting down is not an option: With a major hospital to run, summer camps to attend and petri-dish experiments to keep alive, university officials expect 8,000 to 10,000 people on campus.
UCLA Today in its "UCLA braces for Carmageddon" piece adds:
More than 1,900 hospital employees will keep UCLA’s two hospitals purring, with several hundred doctors, nurses and other staff bunking in campus residence halls in case of an emergency. Roughly 200 children will attend long-ago promised sports camps, about 200 MBA students start classes, and 150 teachers from China will arrive at LAX to begin teacher-training on campus.
UCLA Medical Center's response to the potential nightmare is to put itself on high alert, take measures to see that it continues to function normally, and make on-campus housing available for commuting staff "in case of an emergency." Presumably that emergency would be impassable roads. They don't seem to anticipate an influx of patients as a result of the freeway closure, though the way the event is being imagined in science fiction terms makes it sound like casualties are inevitable. Will road rage turn into rioting and looting? Will there be a mass psychiatric meltdown? Will people trip on the unfamiliar laces of their walking shoes? Rest assured, more police will be out (on bicycles?), according to UCLA Today's article:
The UCPD and UCLA Transportation are among the departments scheduling extra staff to make sure everything runs smoothly, and both UCPD and the LAPD are considering overnighting in UCLA dorms.
As this new decade begins, a prominent overtone that is in the spotlight of the bright minds of modern architects is sustainable design. The enthusiasm for environmental consideration when designing new buildings is centered in the most vibrant cultural centers: our universities, where some of the worlds’ most vitalizing minds work in tandem to create sustainable designs for future generations’ prosperity and use as well as their own.