Since its formation in 1979, the California Architectural Foundation (CAF) has been engaged in addressing issues relating to the environment and the sustainability of California communities through strong partnerships and collaborative efforts. Its very first initiative was the “Advanced Technology House,” a joint venture between the California Council of the American Institute of Architects Foundation (CAF’s original name), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – Ames Research Center and the Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E). This unique effort involving design professionals, a government agency and a public utility demonstrated CAF’s leadership and is the model and the heritage that CAF strives to continue.
The project was to demonstrate useful building technologies from the aerospace and related industries in an actual house while seeking answers to universal questions:
- How can we reduce building costs while delivering better products?
- How can we build additional needed housing without despoiling the environment?
- How can we maximize energy conservation without eliminating comfort?
- How do we build more self-sufficient structures to avoid increasing demands on expensive urban infrastructures?
- How can we manufacture products and build houses which can be adapted to the special or changing needs of their occupants?
These questions are still challenging our profession and CAF is leveraging its relationships with both the academic community and design professionals to bring answers to public officials and decision-makers across California.