The Robert Redford Building

By Deane Barker on November 17, 2003

Rain flushes toilets at Robert Redford building: This is almost anti-geek, but still very cool. There’s a lot of…technology (?) in this building. Well, maybe not technology, but a lot of thought went into building it.

The building’s exterior appears to be wood but is made of a fiber and cement material. Much of the interior is lit with skylights and solar cells that provide about a fifth of its energy. Cool sea breezes augment the air conditioning and special towers draw off heat.

The structure uses about 60 percent less water than most buildings because it captures rainwater from the roof, showers and sinks and uses it to water the plants and flush the low-flow toilets. The urinals use a special cartridge to funnel away wastewater.

That much thought to have…less technology? There’s a switch. I think we’ve come full circle — now we have to put massive amounts of effort into not using technology. Heaping amounts of technology and automation have become the default, and it’s news when someone does something eye-opening without resorting to it.