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Cherokee Studios

Brooks + Scarpa

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Project Description


The building distinguishes itself from most conventionally developed projects in that it incorporates energy efficient measures that exceed standard practice, optimize building performance, and ensure reduced energy use during all phases of construction and occupancy. The planning and design of Cherokee Lofts emerged from close consideration and employment of passive design strategies. These strategies alone make this building more than 40% more efficient than California Title 24 and a conventionally designed similar structure.

The building is inspired by the series of paintings by the British artist Patrick Hughes titled, “Prospectivity”, whose paintings appear to be ever changing and physically moving while being viewed. At Cherokee the main architectural feature of this project is the building’s owner-controlled operable double façade system. By allowing the occupant to adjust, at will, the operable screens of the building façade, the facade is virtually redesigned “live” from within the space, reflecting the occupants of the building within, in real time. The screens also enhance the existing streetscape and promote a lively pedestrian environment.

Through rigorous dialogue with the client, a clear vision emerged that included an expanded facility for higher density and mixed-use, a regenerative approach to the landscape, and a desire to meet the Living Building Challenge. The pioneering nature of this project has left the team with many lessons from the design and construction process. Many are the result of pursuing the Living Building Challenge and many others are products of the nature of the structure.

Cherokee is 40% more energy efficient than California’s Title 24, the most demanding energy code in the United States. Passive solar design strategies and proper building orientation, using the central courtyard between the two residential structures, allows for day lighting on both sides of every unit and shading, while allowing prevailing breezes to fully pass through the units for natural ventilation. Green Roof provides greenery for occupants to enjoy while keeping the building better insulated, cleaning the air, and reducing storm water runoff.
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