What do frogs have to do with Project FROG? I immediately thought of a project for saving frogs, definitely sounded San Franciscan, but this project has nothing to do with frogs. Well…maybe if you associate ‘green’ with a frog then you might. Let me explain. I recently toured the new Crissy Field Center sponsored by the AIA and led by the architect and co-brain behind Project FROG, Mark Miller. Project FROG’s objective: “to push the envelope in smart design, utilizing technology to pre-fabricate safe, healthy, affordable buildings that radically reduce energy consumption and construction waste.” So as you can see it’s more about being GREEN than it is about being a frog. Although Mark did mention that their goal was to provide a sustainable alternative for portable trailers utilized by school districts nationwide, which then lends one to think of leapfrog, the educational toys for kids and voila, we’ve come full circle. Mind you, this is pure speculation on my part, so I shall see to it to find out the ‘real’ concept.
Crissy Field Center is located in East Beach in the Presidio, with its backdrop: the Golden Gate Bridge. It became apparent to the National Parks Center that a quick solution for their temporary home had to be established in order to meet the approaching deadline for federal funding under the green stimulus package. Within a 6 month time frame, the building gained approval, construction began and is now occupied; only the site work done by landscape architects CMG is left to complete. It’s incomprehensible really, and the building breaths and offers daylighting and views. In fact the floor acts as a thermal mass (meaning it stores heat, then releases it into the building passively) reducing energy costs by up to 50%. Additionally, the building has already received LEED GOLD with the expectation of gaining LEED PLATINUM. Project FROG offers a prefabricated product that cuts construction time and waste to its absolute minimum; therefore cutting down on the embodied energy used within standard construction projects. I was also impressed with the energy modeling they have been working on. The image itself is a piece of art! But its fundamental to their approach in that they fully understand the importance of integrated systems and can empirically see the results which esteems a powerful environmentally sensitive product.
I invite you to go see the new center. You can schedule a tour of the facility on Project FROGS website (under projects, then find Crissy Field Center), which I highly recommend! And if you’re just in the Presidio or hanging out in East Beach, the cafe was buzzing while we were there.
Although temporary in nature (as all pieces can be disassembled and reassembled at another location), I hope this building stays around for a while. It’s a great addition to the neighborhood and stands for a great cause. On a separate note, I wonder if Project FROG has considered sending their product to Hati?
A fellow fdc colleague, Sarah Appleman, was also on site touring with me that day. Her thoughts about the day can be found on our fdc blog: http://freedesignclinic.blogspot.com.