Pittsburgh’s world-class centre for environmental education has been designed to achieve Living Building Challenge standards and will open its doors in September
The Frick Environmental Center (FEC) in Pittsburgh, USA, the first municipally owned, free and public Living Building Challenge targeted facility, will be unveiled for the first time at a public celebration on 10 September 2016. Designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ), the building will be a world-class centre for environmental education.
A joint venture between the City of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, the FEC will act as a gateway to the 644-acre Frick Park. Designed and engineered to achieve Living Building Challenge and LEED Platinum standards, the building will provide experiential learning to a projected 20,000 K-12 students and hundreds of thousands of people who visit each year.
The design and construction team, led by BCJ and regional construction firm P J Dick, collaborated with the City and Parks Conservancy throughout the design process, which included extensive community outreach. More than 1,000 community stakeholders provided feedback, helping to define programmatic elements such as the Slavery to Freedom Garden and rain veil art installation. Many of the site's original features have been restored as well, including historic gatehouses, an alleé, and fountain.
To meet Living Building Challenge and LEED Platinum standards, the FEC will use 35% less energy than baseline structures. The building will achieve net zero energy and water utilising elements such as ground-source heat pumps, radiant floors, a photovoltaic array, and a reclaimed water system that will provide captured and filtered storm water for irrigation, use in the fountain, and building non-potable use.
To minimize the project's carbon footprint, all building materials came from within a 1,200-mile radius of the site, and subcontractors and trades were hired in the Allegheny County-Western Pennsylvania region.