Gray Organschi, a young architecture firm, was recently presented with an unusual problem: Their client had land situated within a water conservancy area, and that mandated that all buildings fall within tight constraints on their footprints. But the client was also a builder who had to find somewhere to store piles of building materials–raw stones, bricks, and wood, all of which, if piled on the ground, would have counted against his footprint alottment. Gray Organschi came back with an ingenious idea: A workshop whose walls double as a massive shelving unit, onto which all those building materials can be stacked.
As a result, the building actually makes a virtue out of the look of giant palettes stacked with odds and ends. And the building itself is admirably green: It’s heated and cooled geothermally, while the heat pumps and electricity are provided by translucent PV panels, which double as skylights. A canopy allows the PV array to be even bigger. In fact it produces more electricity than the occupant consumes, and the owner sells the excess back to the local utility.