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UK firm battles for green savings in LA courthouse

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London-based landscape architecture and engineering practice Battle McCarthy has won a competition to design a new courthouse in Los Angeles. Working with Chicago firm Perkins & Will, the practice saw off competition from nine others including Rafael Vinoly and Richard Meier.

The US$300 million (£209 million) building has been designed as an energy efficient structure, utilizing solar heat for power and Pacific winds for cooling. Director Guy Battle told the AJ: 'Because of the problems with power in California, we said: 'Why don't we come up with something which generates more energy than we actually need?'

The building responds totally to the environment.'

The building has been designed to harness the power of California's sun through a south-facing photovoltaic-clad wall. This wall is also curved to deflect hot winds from the desert to the east. The cooler north side of the courthouse, however, is to draw in westerly winds and distribute them around the steel and concrete structure via desiccant dehumidifying systems which require no refrigeration. Battle likened this to a giant termite mound.

The designers hope that the finished building will gain the highest energy-saving ranking available in the US. It is also planned that the building will use 35 per cent less water than its conventional equivalent.

One year of design work is due to commence in June. The 100,000m 2building will be complete in approximately three years.

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