Biophilic design achieves LEED Gold in Delray Beach, Florida

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Biophilic design achieves LEED Gold in Delray Beach, Florida

This week I toured, along with 80 or so other USGBC South Florida and AIA members, a newly certified LEED Gold project in Delray Beach, Florida.  This gorgeous, modern building has an open plan, expansive windows, abundant natural daylight, and a subtle, sophisticated palette of colors and textures.  It was conceptualized and designed under the principles of biophilia and biophilic design, which seeks to create buildings that connect people with nature.  Pursuing LEED certification, and achieving Gold-level certification ensured that the design did more than pay lip service to human health and well-being with lovely views and nice landscaping.  Respect for the natural environment, another tenet of biophilia, was realized with energy efficiency and water conservation, and the careful selection of environmentally preferable materials.

So what is this awesome place?  Is it a cool new club or store, a restaurant, an office building?

This, my friends, is a dental office.

Spodak Dental Group in Delray Beach.

As far as LEED projects go, this one benefitted the most from having a passionate and insurgent sustainability-minded owner, Dr. Craig Spodak.

Dr. Craig proudly pointed out all the features that went into the design of their building and how the design actually helps their practice accomplish their mission.  A lot of people are afraid of the dentist, but infusing nature, with transparency and daylight throughout the space helps calm people down, makes them feel more comfortable and at ease, and promotes healing.

One of the ways they achieved so much daylight in the building was through the use of Solatubes.  If you’ve never heard of Solatubes, they’re sort of like a tubular skylight.  They capture sunlight from your roof into a highly reflective tube that transmits the light into your interior space with a relatively small hole.  

Very cool.  I always wanted to try one of those.  They had a raffle for one that night, and then this happened:

I won a Solatube!  How sweet is that?

Thank you to Spodak Dental Group for the hospitality, the USGBC and AIA for a great event, and to Dr. Craig for inspiring us all.

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