Entry Title: "
The Center for Sustainable Landscapes"
Category: Professional, Public
Designer(s): Richard V. Piacentini - Executive Director, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens;
L. Christian Minnerly - Principal, The Design Alliance Architects
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a public garden in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with a mission to promote human and
environmental well-being through action and research. The Center for
Sustainable Landscapes (CSL), Phipps new education, research and
administration facility, generates its own energy, treats and reuses all
water captured on site, and interacts with the surrounding landscape
as a vital part of its daily operation.
The core purpose the CSL the result of an integrated design process
guided by the Living Building ChallengeSM principles put forth by the
International Living Future Institute (ILFI) is to increase public
awareness of the interconnection between natural and human-made
systems so that visitors may better understand the efficacy of
sustainable building and living. Through talks, presentations, tours and
science programs, the CSL reinforces the importance of human-
environment interactions to over 250,000 annual visitors. The 24,350-
square-foot structure and surrounding landscape is the first project to
pursue all three of the highest sustainable architecture and landscape
standards: the Living Building Challenge, Sustainable Sites Initiative
(SITES) certification for landscapes and LEED Platinum.
Designed and built to operate as efficiently and elegantly as a flower,
the CSL features a sweeping palette of technologies operating in
tandem with passive design strategies to blur the lines between the
natural and built environments: The sun, earth and wind are used to
light, heat and cool the super-efficient building as plants clean
wastewater for reuse; captured water irrigates the landscape and
green roof, which provide habitat for wildlife; the building conforms to
the IFLIs rigid material and chemical red list guidelines by vetting all
products with manufacturers before use; and a formerly contaminated
brownfield now highlights a beautifully restored landscape of native
plant communities, setting the stage for the seamless integration of
one of the greenest buildings in the world.