Columbia Business Times 4/17/09: Architects gain notoriety with sustainable business model
Nick Peckham moved to Columbia from Pennsylvania 35 years ago to teach architecture at Stephens College. Although the architecture program didn’t work out, Peckham has given the entire community practical lessons on sustainability and environmental stewardship in architecture.
When Peckham sought a partner who shared his vision, he found local architect Brad Wright. The two formed Peckham and Wright Architects in 1978, and, after working on about 1,500 building projects since then, their company has been named one of the finalists for the 2009 Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Award.
… Both Peckham and Wright were years ahead of the curve in designing eco-friendly buildings. … More than 30 years ago, PWArchitects designed the master plan for The Meadows, Columbia’s first Planned Unit Development (PUD). Within The Meadows, Peckham and Wright designed the Trombe Wall Townhouses. A Trombe wall is a sun-facing wall, built from metal, stone, concrete or adobe, which acts as a thermal mass. The wall collects heat during the day, and the heated air flows via convection to the interior space through one-way directional vents. The Trombe Wall Townhouses earned PWArchitects a U.S. Department of Energy Passive Solar Award in 1978.
A year later, PWArchitects designed a solar home for the Peckham family on Westwood Avenue in Columbia. The home was featured in the book Passive Solar Architecture. Also in 1979, PWArchitects built a second solar home in Columbia and three other buildings that used PWArchitecture’s Passive Solar Furnace.
“A lot of what has been done by architects was based on expediency or style. Only within the last 10-15 years has a real global appreciation between built environment and natural environment taken place,” Peckham said. …