When comparing his built homes to homes that meet California’s prescriptive design code, Kappe finds that his designs are much more energy-efficient despite having significantly more glazing than allowed by the code. Thoughtful architecture has to take into account energy consumption just as much as it does structure, but the primary design driver should be the occupant’s desires and needs. And occupants tend to desire substantial glazing. Kappe shows that it is possible to address all requirements, and that is what makes a good architect.
Kappe describes several residential projects, both built and unbuilt. Kappe focuses on sustainable features in each house, and explains what makes the designs energy efficient. The architect must take the lead and project his ideas in order to allow consultants and other stakeholders to the process to either challenge or make the modifications necessary and implement those ideas. This applies across every aspect of the building, and Kappe believes there aren’t enough architects leading in the field of energy conservation.
Kappe describes some of his more complex residential projects. He highlights how the house massing should be oriented for maximum solar efficiency. Kappe explains how and why some of the changes late in the construction process occur.
Kappe describes the design of a gymnasium at Loyola integrating various passive energy features. He also describes an administration building for the Santa Monica bus system with various passive design features.
Kappe describes SCI-Arc’s founding and the circumstances that led up to it. His desire to assemble a faculty of practicing architects was thwarted at Cal Poly Pomona, so SCI-Arc was born. A lot of curriculum experimentation occurred at first, but after fifteen years SCI-Arc operates like most other schools, while maintaining the relatively unique practicing faculty.