A stunning multi-layered green-roofed structure called Bay Area Transect has been named as the winner of the 2018 Architecture at Zero design competition. The winning concept – whose design was a collaboration between Boston-based architecture firm Arrowstreet, Copley Wolff Design Group and HTM Office/Madrid – envisions a four-tiered complex embedded into the surrounding landscape in order to minimize its impact and provide educational experiences for the building’s visitors. The project also has multiple sustainable features, including passive ventilation, green roofs, on-site solar power, and a water counterbalancing funicular.

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Every year, the Architecture at Zero competition calls on students and professionals to submit a design proposal for a net-zero energy structure at a specific location. The challenge this year was to create a visitor and education center for San Francisco State University’s Center for Estuary and Ocean Science. All of the designs had to include an overall site plan that included two net-zero buildings and accommodated the program’s mission of marine research.

Related: Rutz Architekten Wins the Architecture at Zero Competition with Their Zero-Net Energy Building Design

The Bay Area Transect concept and design process was a collaboration between Arrowstreet, Copley Wolff Design Group, and HTM Office/Madrid. The team (Christine Wilson, Becky Rupel, and Hector Torres) worked together for over two months to create a vibrant, site-sensitive concept that would allow visitors to explore the coastal ecosystem as well as the sustainable technologies that power its preservation.

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The resulting design incorporates not just buildings that mesh with the surrounding environment, but green roofs that double as walking space for the visitors. A funicular connects the waterfront with facilities at the top of the hillside, reducing vehicle traffic overall. Additionally, the open design would allow visitors to feel close to the function of the building’s research purposes, and the project would incorporate a protected tidal inlet to allow beginning kayakers to explore the local coastal ecosystem.

The winning team is donating its winnings to Women’s Lunch Place in Boston, a homeless day shelter for women designed by Arrowstreet.

+ Arrowstreet

+ Copley Wolff Design Group

+ HTM Office/Madrid

Via Archinect

Images via Arrowstreet, Copley Wolff Design Group and HTM Office, as well as Architecture at Zero