AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects for 2007


Photo credit: Timothy Hursley

We often complain about green designs without zip or style, (just did so yesterday) and now pass on the latest LEED Platinum unless it has buzz as well as points. As green building becomes common, we can afford to be choosy; The American Institute of Architects and its Committee on the Environment found that too: "Both the number of submissions and level of sophistication have increased dramatically since the AIA COTE Top Ten Green Projects program's inception in 1997." said Kira Gould, Assoc. AIA, chair of the AIA Committee on the Environment. Of course Living Homes Z6 house had to be on the list, a nice school by TreeHugger faves Kieran Timberlake, a water purification facility by Stephen Holl and a very jazzy looking office building (pictured above, description below fold) in Little Rock by Polk Stanley Rowland Curzon Porter Achitects. Lots more juicy pix at ::AIA via ::Jetson GreenA world hunger organization, Heifer's impact in communities starts with delivering one animal to one family, an action known as "passing on the gift." Like a drop of water generates ripples flowing outward from the impact point, the gift of an animal creates "concentric rings of influence" radiating through a village, allowing sustainable methods taught to the original family to be passed on to others as the animal's offspring are gifted. The project team's goal was to design a sustainable headquarters that would exemplify Heifer's mission and sustainable attributes for educational purposes and allow all employees to work as equals.

Part of a four phase master plan for a brownfield site, the building was conceived as a series of concentric rings expanding outward from a central commons. The architecture weaves wetlands with people at work, expanding environmental stewardship into the public realm while serving as a beacon of hope.

This project was chosen as an AIA Committee on the Environment Top Ten Green Project for 2007. It was submitted by Polk Stanley Rowland Curzon Porter Achitects, LTD, in Little Rock, Arkansas. Additional project team members are listed on the "Process" screen.

Sustainable concepts apparent in the building are extensions of Heifer's approach to ending world hunger, guided by a belief that education comes through environmental connections. Reclamation and use of damaged land, collection and reuse of water, and equality and access for all people to healthy conditions were key goals that created the intended symbiotic relationship between building and land.

A stated goal that zero water leave the site led to a process of restoring a wetland on an abandoned railroad switching yard that would collect and clean stormwater for reuse. A connection is drawn architecturally between the movement of people and the movement of harvested rainwater. The connection between people and building continues through vertical circulation design and façade fenestration, recycled materials used from on site, and carved breezeways under the building, all interrelated with building systems.

The narrow, semi-circular floor plan results in daylight and views for all 474 employees. The views focus on the adjacent riverfront park and wetland.

The building is designed to use up to 55% less energy than a conventional office building.