Kristen DiStefano, LEED AP BD+C
Atelier Ten are the environmental design consultants on the project. Starting in the concept design phase we worked with the AIA and the design team to define the sustainability vision for the project. This included the elimination of fossil fuels, an emphasis on a plant-based material palette, and the creation of a dynamic occupant experience as one moves from the street front and throughout the space. Atelier Ten collaborated with the team in researching a sustainable material palette and designing to increase access to daylight deeper in the space.
One of the most exciting things happening within the design community is the urgent emphasis on reducing the carbon impact of our built environment. As designers, we know how to do this for new construction, but one of the biggest challenges we are still trying to solve is how we make carbon smart design decisions for our existing building stock. The AIA’s decision to renovate within an existing building minimizes the project’s up-front embodied carbon footprint. The Center further reduced its carbon emission by eliminating fossil fuels and upgrading to an all-electric mechanical system. In addition to building performance, designing a unique and exciting experience for building visitors is the most sustainable thing that the Center can do to ensure the space is used long into the future.
One of the most exciting aspects of the Center is its engagement with youth programs, community events and professional education. I love to picture the participants in today’s youth programs returning to the Center as professionals ten years from now. I envision that the design of the Center will be unchanged, a testament to good design, multi-functional flexibility, and durable materials. The Center itself will be powered by 100% renewable energy from California’s clean grid. I hope that young professionals will look back in disbelief that we ever considered the use of fossil fuels to power our buildings.
About Kristen DiStefano
Kristen DiStefano is an Associate Director of Atelier Ten’s San Francisco office. She has lent her sustainability expertise to over 100 projects and has successfully led some of Atelier Ten’s most ambitious projects including the NVIDIA Endeavor building in Santa Clara, CA, the San Francisco Giants’ Mission Rock Development, the UC Merced 2020 project, and the California College of Arts Unified Campus with Studio Gang in San Francisco. Kristen is the director in charge of Atelier Ten’s Carbon Management practice and is an integral part of the firm’s Masterplanning practice. She balances her expertise in detailed carbon reduction strategy with big picture guidance for large scale projects. Kristen holds a Master of Architecture degree from Cornell University and she has taught at Cornell University and the University of Oregon.