On occasion, I partake in some gentle ribbing of Portland, a magical city in the Pacific Northwest where the roofs
of big box stores are designed to attract bees and their parking lots have been used, at least on one occassion
, to hold memorial services for fallen pollinators.
The bees of Portland, however, have nothing on the butterflies of another
progressive West Coast burg that’s also an easy target for a bit of good-natured mocking: San Francisco (a great place to display your junk in public, live in an overpriced shoebox
, and munch on edible flowers at a professional baseball game
if there ever was one).
As reported by Salon
, 38 Dolores
, an under-construction luxury rental complex in the city’s Mission district, will come equipped with a rather unusual amenity that you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere
: a butterfly habitat that serves as “a living representation of the sustainable lifecycle at the core of 38 Dolores’ philosophy.”
Said butterfly habitat will be home to a host of (non-rent-paying) endangered residents including the San Bruno Elfin, the Bay Checkerspot, and the Mission Blue acccording to the 38 Dolores website.
Aiming for both LEED Gold and SITES certification, the 81-unit complex (the monthly rent for a one-bedroom will set you back between $2,950 and $4,595, by the way) certainly has no qualms about marketing its green leanings.
The property’s main amenity IS “eco-living” and instead of bombarding prospective tenants with photos of a well-equipped gym, a swimming pool, or a group of smartly dressed young people congregating around a sleek lounge area that might as well be the lobby of a W Hotel, the 38 Delores website is filled with imagery of root vegetables, succulents, and, yes, butterflies. One of the complex’s main communal hangout spots is an herb garden, there’s ample on-site bike storage, and the commercial tenant on the ground floor will be, I kid you not, a 30,000-square-foot Whole Foods.
Featuring solar thermal, rainwater harvesting, an expansive green roof, passive design strategies, and nontoxic/recycled material throughout, the building itself was designed by BAR Architects with landscaping by April Philips Design Group. William McDonough + Partners is also credited as being part of the design team.
I’m sure 38 Dolores, when completed, will be a beautiful and efficient building and will be enjoyed by those who can afford to live in it (certainly not long-time residents of the Mission). It’s hard to disagree with anything that McDonough + Partners is involved in. However, I can’t shake the feeling that 38 Dolores is trying just a bit too hard. And the presence of a butterfly habitat … well, that sends it over the top.
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