When David Oakey Designs was ready to move out of rental space in an old Coca-Cola bottling plant, David knew he wanted something that would be a tangible expression of his company’s sustainable, natural design principles.
The result was Pond Studios, designed by architect Elva Rubio.
Situated within six acres of second-growth pine forest, the 15,000 square foot structure seems to grow organically and beautifully from the land, overlooking the pond for which it’s named.
In working with Elva, David experienced first-hand what it’s like to be the client in a sustainable design project. He learned a lot, he says, in the process of recognizing that the rust on the sprinkler system joints was beautiful, not something to be covered up – and that there was nothing wrong with exposed nails on the roof! “Now,” he says, “I can’t help but wonder, where did this idea of perfection come from? Why are pristine, manicured surfaces considered beautiful?”
With its focus on natural lighting and use of local materials, the studio appears forward-thinking even to today’s design sensibilities. When you realize that it was designed and built in 1996, the foresight of Rubio – and her coaching of David as a client – is even more impressive.
Skylights and windows are oriented to the seasonal movement of the sun, with most of the glazing facing north to avoid summer heat buildup. Artificial lighting is used only minimally during the day (unlike most offices where light fixtures burn non-stop). A geothermal system controls heating and cooling. Outdoor work on the cantilevered deck overlooking the pond is made easy because the furniture is designed to be moved in or out as needed. The space is environmentally friendly – and it’s healthier and more enjoyable for employees and clients alike.