A Beautiful Blend

By Organic Spa Magazine / September 10, 2011

We weren’t surprised to learn that since our springtime visit, the new Annex at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health won two prestigious awards: the American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Housing Award in the Specialized Housing category and an Honorable Mention in the Environments category from I.D.’s 2010 Annual Design Review.

The green Annex, which blends so beautifully into the lush landscape of the Berkshires, was designed by architect Peter Rose of Peter Rose + Partners. It’s an unobtrusive and handsome structure that features a wooden-slat exterior designed to create a natural look that weathers beautifully over time. A detail we admire: The cladding is made of southern cypress salvaged from the Hurricane Katrina tidal surge. Additional sustainable details include the fact that, with 80 private guestrooms and a 2,800-square-foot program room, the building remains incredibly compact, keeping its energy requirements to a minimum. Heavily insulated and constructed of thermally massive concrete, the Annex also features a radiant floor system that both heats and cools the building and a retractable exterior shutter system that utilizes the sun’s energy through floor-to-ceiling windows.

The rooms are quiet and pleasant in a simple way, with an efficient use of space and great views. (We appreciated the in-room choice of natural body products by EO.) They are meant to offer another, more private, level of housing for students and guests. (The original building that the Annex connects to was built in 1957 as a Jesuit monastery and offers mostly dorm-room and shared-bath options.)

“Expanding our facilities allows us to expand our curriculum and support our mission to teach the art and science of yoga to foster transformation of mind and body and make us more alive, powerful, and fulfilled human beings,” attests Dinabandhu Garrett Sarley, CEO. “Approaching things in a holistic way and applying an intuitive, integrative solution, the yogic solution, is always Kripalu’s first priority,” continues Sarley. “So, taking a green approach to help lessen the building’s environmental footprint was an obvious choice.” www.kripalu.org