MP student's project is the people's choice
By TRISHA PHELPS
Mt. Pleasant News
“It probably won’t come to fruition, but our instructors wanted to make a project as true to life as possible,” described Ashley Olson of Mt. Pleasant, a senior at Iowa Sate University, about her interior design entry for the International Interior Design Association’s 2012 Student sustainable Design Competition.
Olson and her design partner Erica Riha, Cresco, won the People’s Choice Award for their design of a “climate positive” assisted living and memory care facility to be located in Panama.
Making a climate positive design, Olson described, was a way to fight against global climate change in a practical, measurable and significant way.
Olson researched products to use for the building that were environmentally friendly. “The materials what the products were made with as well as the way they were made had minimal waste and minimal pollution,” said Olson. “There are certain materials that are considered more sustainable than others because they can be harvested in a way that reduces waste, such as cork flooring.
“We also researched the climate and orientation of the land to capitalize on the coastal trade winds,” Olson added. “There is a was that you can orient a building so that it saves on heat and energy costs, as well as electricity.”
Olson also stressed the importance of the building not only being healthy for the environment, but also healthy for the people who would live there.
“In buildings today, especially in urban areas, they are trying to become increasingly aware of access to public transportation and so we made sure there was easy access to the town center and we provided a lot of walking paths to promote less use of personal vehicles,” she said.
While the design Olson created will not be built, the contest gave her some experience she can use after graduation.
“All of the steps were true to life but the building will not actually be made,” said Olson. “We also had a strict budget to work with and had to make a complete set of construction documents.”
In winning the contest, Olson and Riha received an engraved iPad and a student membership to IIDA.