The Harvard Business School/Harvard University Graduate School of Design recently presented a case study: “Design Creates Fortune: 2000 Tower Oaks Boulevard,” on the 200,000 square foot LEED Platinum and Fortune Creating Architectural/Vedic-designed office building co-developed by The Tower Companies and Lerner Enterprises of Rockville, Md.
The presenters challenged students to consider the fact that human capital costs were higher than energy costs, and, perhaps it made more business sense to focus on improving the efficiency and productivity of the employees by employing ideas like Vedic Architecture.
Jeffrey S. Abramson, Partner, The Tower Companies’ talks to MHN about why he believes Vedic Architecture is the wave of the future and how it can also change people’s lives by being implemented in multifamily buildings.
MHN: What is Vedic Architecture?
Abramson: Vedic architecture is architecture in accord with natural law. Natural laws are those governing intelligence found in nature, which uphold life in perfect order. It is electrons and magnetic fields and all those impulses of nature that uphold everything in nature. Everything that happens in nature happens by the functioning of natural law. This architecture connects individual life with cosmic life using the same intelligence that governs nature. These expressions like you see in Vedic architecture are expressions you find in almost all cultures, in all systems of architecture, since the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians.
MHN: What are the principles of Vedic architecture?
Abramson: There are about 100 principles that make up Vedic architecture. Orientation—states that the front entrance should face east; how the building is sited on the land—which is called Vastu; determining the center point or nucleus of building; water placement etc. Taken in isolation these principles don’t have much of an impact, but taken together, they create a the ideal building.
We incorporated all the 100 principles in the office building. We didn’t try to fool Mother Nature.
MHN: Why is this form of architecture important?
Abramson: Buildings affect people. And if buildings can affect people, they can affect their behavior, their outcomes and their success. Buildings can elevate life and if you can figure out those architectural principles that can uphold the life of the occupant, make them more successful, brighter and smarter, it can be very useful. The built environment can enhance productivity of the company and collectively this is going to have huge ramifications on the health and economic development of the U.S. Reduce pollution; create new jobs and new technologies. It’s not an intellectual concept, its not like there’s a sign that says you are about to experience something. But people come in and say they feel peaceful and energized. It has nothing to do with style, it can be any style the architect chooses.
MHN: Where does Vedic architecture come from?
Abramson: It is about 5000 years old and is associated with India but in its absolute essence, where we are not talking about interpretation etc, these are really just principles found in nature. It could be like saying physics is Austrian or German because we associate Einstein with it. So in that sense, it transcends culture. It was however, enlivened, and somewhat maintained in India.
MHN: How many building that incorporate Vedic architecture exist today?
Abramson: There is 500 million dollars worth of Vedic construction around the world. There are some very small multifamily buildings that incorporate it as well but it so happens that the office one is the largest right now. The next goal for us is to incorporate it in multi-housing. In fact, we now have the opportunity to build about 2,500 apartments at Metro station. This is the direction in which real estate is moving.
MHN: Are there any additional costs involved?
Abramson: There is a small cost—about 2-3 percent more, which is about 10 cents or so per sq ft. It is a minimal cost to make a massive contribution.