By Ann K. Williams
October 14, 2011 -- Plans for a retail store going in at 1415 Third Street Promenade – generally known to be an Apple Store – hit another snag as a local architect filed an appeal of a ruling approving the design.
Dan Jansenson, whose offices are on the same city block as the proposed store, has submitted papers calling for a review of the Architecture Review Board's (ARB's) recent decision giving the go-ahead to a modernistic structure with a glass facade and glass roof, on the grounds that it may not be possible to build it in compliance with California's energy codes.
“We have new, stringent energy rules in California,” Jansenson told The Lookout Thursday.
Nobody knows if the glass building with a southwest facing facade can be built as designed and conform to these rules, said Jansenson.
“If the design can't be built in compliance with energy rules, the aesthetic part of the building may have to be modified,” he said.
That, said Jansenson, is where things get tricky as far as the ARB is concerned.
While the board is not charged with environmental compliance, it does have authority when matters of aesthetics are concerned.
And if the structure has to be modified to handle the heat generated by its orientation and materials, the aesthetics may be changed – for example, shading panels may have to be added to the facade, said Jansenson.
The architect at last month's ARB meeting wasn't able to give a definitive answer to the board's questions about Title 24 state energy codes, Jansenson said.
He needs to submit “a letter, review or report by the mechanical engineer saying, 'yes we can,' or, 'no we can't,'” Jansenson said. “Then the ARB will be able to judge whether or not this building will be able to be built.”
ARB Chair Michael Folonis had expressed doubts as to whether the building could meet California's strict energy regulations when the board reviewed its plans last month.
But the representative for architect Bohlin Cywinski Jackson who presented the plans said that the store will use a state-of-the-art cooling system that will pull in cool air at the base of the store, allow it to rise upward as it heats and then vent it out near the roof.
And the applicant, Howard Robinson, told the ARB that his client was known for its “track record” for sustainability, though he stopped short of naming the client.
Similar Apple Stores have been built elsewhere, using the kind of cooling system that's been proposed for the Santa Monica store.
But, said Jansenson, the energy rules in New York City – where a similar store has been built – are far less strict than those in California.
It not just a question of aesthetics or codes, he added.
“For me it's a good government issue,” said Jansenson. He said he needs the commission to act with consistency so he can tell clients what they can expect as they go through the steps the city requires to complete a project.
When a commission relies on its hunches, reaches “faith-based” conclusions, it's bad for all the professionals who need to know that the rules are “consistently applied from project to project,” said Jansenson.
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