How do you blend the meditative and rejuvenating aspects of yoga with modern sustainable architecture? Peter Rose + Partners offers up an inspired solution with the newly opened Kripalu Annex, an award-winning housing tower at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts.
Kripalu Annex contains 80 rooms and a large yoga studio set on a tapering axis that is designed to frame views of dense woodlands. Peter Rose chose to create an interplay of modern and natural materials that blends well with the environment. The concrete structure is clad in slatted cypress that offers a streamlined design and places the landscape first. Movable cypress sunscreens temper heat gain, create dynamic shadows on the sunny southern exposure, and provide scents of natural wood in guest rooms. The cypress, while a warm honey color now, will weather to a natural grey and blend with the surrounding woods.
According to Rose, “Kripalu’s housing needs are modest and straightforward, but the architecture of the Annex, like yoga itself, is full of subtlety and layers of complexity that gently improve the structure’s performance. Light, air, using minimal means to create a calm, healing environment — it’s all about fulfilling these almost intangible requirements.”
Photo by Matthew Snyder
As part of Kripalu’s holistic approach to improving mind, body, and spirit, the facility includes a variety of sustainable features that allow the Annex to reduce its ecological footprint and cut its energy use in half. The building features a planted roof and a hydronic radiant heating and cooling system among its green arsenal. Peter Rose + Associates also recognized the importance of simple design decisions that greatly impact the sustainability of a project. Natural ventilation and lighting are provided throughout, and the building plan is crafted to funnel breezes. Also, the physical size of the structure is 30 percent smaller than a similar conventional building.
The Kripalu Annex was awarded the AIA National Housing Award for Specialized Housing and was named Honorable Mention for I.D.’s 2010 Annual Design Review. The project represents the beginning of a new master plan for the 300-acre Kripalu campus which proposes a mix of renovated existing buildings, landscape improvements, and new structures intended to provide an environmentally sensitive model of sustainability.
Photos by Matthew Snyder