The Porter School of Environmental Studies, Tel Aviv, Israel Geotectura + Axelrod-Grobman Architects + NCA

The Porter School of Environmental Studies is the first LEED Platinum certified project in Israel and amongst the 17 greenest projects in the world that gained 92 points and above in the LEED certification.

The eco-conscious design is reflected in the Eco-Wall south façade that produces the entire energy source for the mechanical ventilation of the building, saving energy and reducing carbon emissions and also creating working environment and laboratories for the students and the researchers.

The project is a living lab of ecological and social values for the community and the environment. It tells the story of the complex sustainability term and simplifies it to the public by strolling along the Eco-Wall, the ground floor and the roof that present current research of energy, water, soil, vegetation, materials and so on that they can see, touch and learn.

The building façade can absorb changing technology and keep being relevant and attractive for leading researches around the world. The Eco-Wall is an iconic ever-changing window display for other universities and visitors and act as a constant social-educational contributor.

The Eco-Wall south façade is a prominent feature of the building also each façade of the building is serving specific ecological properties such as the north façade that brings natural light to the classrooms and offices, the west façade that is shaped like a funnel that increases the air coming into the main atrium and allows passive ventilation in all public areas and the east façade that is minimal and blocks the sun heat during winter and the noise from the highway below.

The South façade Eco-Wall is an iconic element, conveying the PSES Building‘s spirit and vision by its design and functionality. It is a façade that is taking the notion of aesthetic façades into a new level that is applicable with the sustainable area by serving several ecological and educational goals.

Protection. The Eco-Wall shields the atrium from the harsh southern sun, and screens out noise and pollution arising from the Ayalon Highway running beneath the cliff. The fact that the shading elements are also the energy source for the entire building is very economic and the return of investment is very short because of that.

Solar Energy. Thermo-solar energy generation tubes are installed on the exterior of the Eco-Wall, absorbing the sun’s radiation to heat water, which in turn activates the PSES Building’s entire air-conditioning system, allowing the building to produce its own energy for the entire mechanical ventilation and even more during summer.

Research Platform. The Eco-Wall terraces are allocated to researchers involved in environmental issues. Here they can hold experiments requiring specific needs, set up small labs, grow beddings of ‘green walls’, conduct algae research etc.

Showcase. The fascinating mosaic of research initiatives that is created in the Eco-Wall, offers the public a unique opportunity. Visitors and students can stroll and visit the galleries overlooking the research units and observe the forefront of environmental science in the making. Additionally, the computer-controlled network of LED bulbs, surfacing the Capsule, enables the presentation of environmental data to some distance, to be observed by passersby and highway passengers. This approach of educating, sharing and providing accessibility to data – strikingly uncharacteristic of the competitive world of research – best represents the spirit of the Porter School of Environmental Studies and its Building.

The Capsule in the middle of the Eco-Wall is an extraordinary architectural element: an elliptic, three-dimensional structure, suspended over the atrium. Its visually-striking shape creates an intriguing focal point. The external surface of the capsule, facing the Ayalon Highway, is coated by a net of LED lights, computer-controlled to display environmental information, such as energy statistics of the PSES Building, pollution levels in Tel Aviv, etc. Thus the capsule serves as an environmental beacon, raising awareness to ecological issue.

Source: The Porter School of Environmental Studies