by Rachel 30 December 2011
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    100 year space for an educational philanthropy: reclaimed wood and daylight for a hybrid program of work space and conference center.

    The permanent home for Greater Texas Foundation (an educational philanthropy based in Bryan, Texas) is a hybrid of office space and a conference center with the feel of an elegant ranch house.

    The 10,000 SF building combines offices for 17, meeting space for the Board of Directors, multi-purpose meeting rooms, a library, group work areas, kitchen and gallery space. The project began with a series of candid conversations about the client’s identity and goals. Below are excerpts: “We want a timeless, 100 year building” “This facility is a statement about our long term commitment to education. This building should not look like something airlifted from an office park.”

    At the heart of the design is antique long leaf pine, reclaimed from a local 1908 lumber warehouse that was slated for demolition. The reclamation effort, facilitated by the project design team, was a first for the city. The wood forms the structural roof deck (exposed inside), floors, wall base, front door and interior wall blocking. The design team also used it to create multiple custom furniture pieces including height adjustable tables in the boardroom, subtly integrated for the staff, who attend and support meetings while not seated at the main table.

    In review for Gold Certification, it will be the first LEED project in the city outside the adjacent University (with US Presidential Library) and is sustainable on all levels. Window placement, solar control and individual mechanical controls in each office are key to the staff’s ability to customize their own spaces. Indoor air quality was carefully protected with all material selections.

    The building has allowed the client to host other foundations and organizations and partner in ways they had not imagined. The organization that cares about teaching on every level is now using their home to educate others about sustainable buildings and landscapes.

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