Some people don’t see how interior design and architecture is art. Look at it that we as designers and architects don’t just work with one blank canvas we have six. The space planning for the floor plan, four walls, and the biggest and uninterrupted plan that many people don’t always notice is the ceiling. Green design is fairly new but progressing fast. Local architect Michael Carlson is at the forefront in sustainable design and LEED certified projects.
In 2009 Carlson Studios Architecture designed the “HGTV Green Home”. Before the house was given away on HGTV I went and toured the 3 bedroom, 3 bath 2500-square-foot home, which earned LEED Platinum certification from the US Green Building Council, is loaded with sustainable features beginning with mindful building orientation to maximize north / south exposures for optimum shading and protect interiors from sun exposure. Natural day light is captured throughout the house with distinctive clerestory windows above the main open living area and solar tube skylights in the hallway and kitchen. The changing daylight in the house also creates a sense of time and connection to nature. Modern roofing technologies such as high solar reflecting materials and a roof garden create a cool, comfortable patio space. Even though the metal roof appears dark in color with its terracotta red finish, the technology of the painting system is actually highly reflective and prevents unwanted heat gain. Solar photo voltaic (PV) cells provide power to the home producing renewable energy that helps lower electricity use in addition to the solar hot water heater. Healthy materials without toxic chemicals were liberally incorporated in the home’s interior to provide superior indoor air quality. Many materials also have recycled content. The concrete foundation and glass tiles in the bathrooms are some examples of this. Water saving plumbing fixtures and rainwater collection for irrigation reduce the house’s water demands. Highly insulated, solid concrete wall system offers unparalleled storm protection and energy savings.
Michael has been practicing architecture in Florida since 1989 and founded Carlson Studio Architecture in 1997. As, one of the first architects in Florida to achieve the LEED Accredited Professional designation, Michael combines his diverse project experience with an ongoing dedication to quality in the built environment through sustainable design and building practices.
As a soon to be graduate with my degree in interior design I could see myself working at Carlson Studios Architecture if I wasn’t already employed in my field of study. A lot of people have an ignorant preconceived notion that interior designers are the same as a interior decorator and all we do is pick pretty fabrics and coordinating paint colors. It is a constant battle for us to educate people on hurdles we must climb to become a true interior designer. Yes we get to select finishes and fabrics but we do not just judge them on the color there are fire ratings for different building types as well as sustainable rating depending on if you are trying to be Green in your design efforts. The future for designing sustainably is looking bright and I’m glad we are starting to realize what architects and designers can do to help the planet rather than harm it.