University of Minnesota Welcome Center Mixes New Tech With Old Building


All images credit Lara Swimmer and MS&R;

I am fond of repeating Steve Mouzon's dictum that the greenest brick is the one that's already in the wall. That's why I was attracted to MS&R;'s welcome center for the University of Minnesota at Morris. It is a mix of preservation and restoration with a bright new redo and some clever use of new green gizmos.


click on image to enlarge

Among other things, it has the first use of chilled beams in the State of Minnesota and one of the first in historic buildings. Chilled beams are an interesting technology that significantly reduces ductwork by bringing chilled water into a sort of ceiling-hung cold radiator; it is easier and less disruptive to install pipes than ductwork. There is a lot less noise and moving air, and they can work with warmer temperature water than regular cooling systems so they work very well with heat pumps. I don't know why they are called beams, it is confusing.


Image credit Environmental Building News

Brent Erlich explains at BuildingGreen: ACBs use water flowing through heat exchangers to cool warm room air (arrows in). Ventilation air (arrows out) supplied at low pressure (circular duct, top) mixes with the now-cooled room air above the heat exchanger and is blown into the room, inducing air circulation.


Listed on the national register of Historic Places, the Welcome center was originally built in 1915 as the Engineering Building. It now houses admissions, continuing education, external relations, and the center for Small Towns.

More at MS&R;
I am not usually fond of Gizmo Green Design.
Forget About Green Gizmos: Buildings Need To Be Healthy and Durable Too
The Greenest Brick is the One That's Already in the Wall
Greenwash Watch: Solar Panels Do Not A Green House Make
Steve Mouzon on The Top Ten for 2010

Tags: Ban Demolition | Minnesota