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Best New Tech Space 

Argonne Child Development Center

The most exciting high-tech work space planned for San Francisco is really rather low-tech, explains architect Dennis Budd, of 450 Architects. For one thing, the workers won't do terribly much with computers -- they're 4 and 5 years old, after all. The building is a preschool employing the latest ideas in passive-solar architecture, recycled-materials construction, and building-integrated photovoltaic cells. It's the first such from-the-ground-up solar school in California; the architects designed the building to conserve energy in myriad ways. Children will take their afternoon naps under the glow of photovoltaic-film-covered skylights. They'll store construction projects in cabinets made from pressed wheat or sunflower stalks, and they'll walk over recycled-glass-content floor tile. Glass-walled enclaves will allow students to do indoor work while feeling as though they are outside. The plan also includes a slate-paneled outdoor play wall -- whose costs were covered by an anonymous private donor -- where children will be able to use chalk to draw life-sized pictures of each other. Who says San Francisco's high-tech building boom is all bad?


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