Contract - Mission Sustainable: Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Fort Worth, by H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture

design - features - green design



Mission Sustainable: Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Fort Worth, by H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture

03 October, 2011

-By Jean Nayar


For the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT)—a 24-year-old organization that extensively researches and documents the diversity of plant life—having a building that is an example of sustainable design was a must.

“We’re a conservation organization and everything we do is about sustainability,” says BRIT’s president and director Dr. S.H. Sohmer. Thanks to Sohmer’s leadership, a supportive community, generous city funding, and a committed team of designers, BRIT now has the eco-friendly building it sorely needed to exhibit its collections, expand its programs, and extend its educational outreach. BRIT’s facility, which received Platinum-level certification in the LEED® for New Construction category, is surrounded by 5.2 acres of restored prairie adjacent to the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens—a natural partner in its quest to raise consciousness about the planet.

Eight years ago, BRIT’s story was completely different. “We were three people in a 10,000-square-foot warehouse space on the fringe of Fort Worth,” says Sohmer. “We had no climate control and no public access. Our organization is built around a collection of over a million specimens from all over the world. Our collection, along with our library, is the best in the country. There was no way BRIT could manifest its destiny in that space,” he says.

Bigger house on the prairie

Enter H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture from New York. “The whole thing starts with BRIT’s herbarium of seeds and plants that date back to the 18th century,” says H3 Principal Hugh Hardy. “Our past is recorded in these plants, which offer an amazing investigation of what life has been on the planet. BRIT’s scientific research is also of interest to drug companies and other producers of consumer products made from plants. So the building has to support all research fronts—educational, medical, and scientific.”

To create this 69,000-square-foot building—which is almost seven times the size of its previous space—for programming and 32 staff members, the architects divided BRIT’s core functions into two separate wings and plotted them in an L-shape configuration overlooking the Botanical Gardens. One wing, dubbed by the architects as the “Think Block,” houses administration areas and research offices, classrooms, an exhibition area, and public spaces; the other, the “Archive Block,” holds the herbarium and library, according to Daria Pizzetta, the lead architect on the project at H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture.

Responding to the strong Texas sun, the design revolves around a play of light and shade, beginning with the Archive Block’s glazed public entrance lobby, where vistas of the surrounding landscape and the 300-foot-long Think Block await visitors. Access to eastern and northern light and views was consciously integrated throughout the spaces through strategic placement of windows, while tilt-up concrete shields much of the eastern, western, and southern sides of the building from harsher sun exposure.

Good seed makes a good crop

In collaboration with architect of record Corgan Associates, landscape architect Balmori Associates, and LEED coordinator theGreen Team, H3 designed the two-story facility to earn as many points as possible in all five categories of the LEED rating system to achieve Platinum certification. A photovoltaic system mounted on the roof of the Archive Block and geothermal wells, for example, enabled the building to gain all 17 points in the Energy & Atmosphere category. The organization benefits from an estimated energy savings of $37,000 per year. Several innovative features—a pond that collects rainwater and runoff through the parking lot, use of low-maintenance indigenous plants, and low-flow fixtures—enabled the project to score high in the Water Efficiency category. And by incorporating lots of windows and glazing, especially along the saw-toothed office side of the structure, the architects allowed natural sunlight to penetrate more than 75 percent of the building, helping the facility earn 12 of 15 points in the Indoor Environmental Quality category.

The interiors’ conscientious mix of recycled and sustainable materials enabled the building to score high in the Materials & Resources category. Textural paneling made of beautifully preserved cypress logs, which fell off logging barges and sank in the Mississippi more than 100 years ago, add character and warmth in the lobby, as well as contrast with the bamboo-covered ceilings. Additional eco-friendly touches in the interior include 100-percent wool carpeting and low-VOC wall paint in the office areas.

Now that its facility is complete, BRIT is fulfilling its purpose in engaging the community. “We’re very fortunate to have a building that embodies our mission,” says Sohmer. With its notable roster of museums—including Louis Kahn’s Kimball Museum, Philip Johnson’s Amon Carter Museum of American Art, and Tadao Ando’s Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth—the city of Forth Worth is fortunate, too, to have access to yet another local cultural treasure.

SOURCES

WHO
Design architect: H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture. Architect of Record: Corgan Associates. Architecture project team for H3: Hugh Hardy, FAIA; Daria Pizzetta, AIA; Gabriel Hernandez, AIA; Jon Holzheimer, AIA, Corgan; Regina Stamatiou, AIA, Corgan; Alan Richards, Corgan; Matt McDonald, Corgan. Interior designer: H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture. Interior design project team: Darlene Fridstein; Lauren Davino, LEED AP; Cathryn Dail, RID, LEED AP, Royer & Schutts. Contractor: Beck Group. MEP engineer: Summit Consultants. Structural engineer: L.A. Fuess. Landscape design: Balmori Associates. Signage and graphics consultants: Two Twelve Associates. Furniture dealer: Royer & Schutts.

WHAT
Wallcoverings: Maharam (exhibits, commons, and conference room). Paint: Benjamin Moore. Laminate: Formica. Flooring: Epoxy Terrazzo; Mannington Tile; Eco-Surfaces. Carpet: Bloomsburg; Atlas. Ceiling: Armstrong. Lighting: Haworth (task lights); Hubble (exit signs); Gotham; Lam Lighting; Altman; Corelight; Lithonia. Glass: Old Castle. Window treatments: MechoSystems. Workstations: Haworth. Seating: Cabot Wrenn (workstation seating); Haworth (task and conference room); Jofco (office corridor); Kimball Office (CEO’s office); Bernhardt (lobby); Kimball Office (rare book room); Gressco (children’s library); Haworth (resource center); VDS (classroom, commons, and herbarium stack chairs); Versteel (lab stools); Virco (grow lab). Tables: Haworth (classroom); Versteel (commons); Virco (children’s library and grow lab). Files cabinets: Lane (herbarium); Jackson USC Spacesaver (compact storage). Architectural woodworking: Cajun Cypress (lobby feature wall). Other furniture: National (casework and reception desk). Recycling containers: Magnuson.
 




Mission Sustainable: Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Fort Worth, by H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture

03 October, 2011


Chris Cooper

For the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT)—a 24-year-old organization that extensively researches and documents the diversity of plant life—having a building that is an example of sustainable design was a must.

“We’re a conservation organization and everything we do is about sustainability,” says BRIT’s president and director Dr. S.H. Sohmer. Thanks to Sohmer’s leadership, a supportive community, generous city funding, and a committed team of designers, BRIT now has the eco-friendly building it sorely needed to exhibit its collections, expand its programs, and extend its educational outreach. BRIT’s facility, which received Platinum-level certification in the LEED® for New Construction category, is surrounded by 5.2 acres of restored prairie adjacent to the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens—a natural partner in its quest to raise consciousness about the planet.

Eight years ago, BRIT’s story was completely different. “We were three people in a 10,000-square-foot warehouse space on the fringe of Fort Worth,” says Sohmer. “We had no climate control and no public access. Our organization is built around a collection of over a million specimens from all over the world. Our collection, along with our library, is the best in the country. There was no way BRIT could manifest its destiny in that space,” he says.

Bigger house on the prairie

Enter H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture from New York. “The whole thing starts with BRIT’s herbarium of seeds and plants that date back to the 18th century,” says H3 Principal Hugh Hardy. “Our past is recorded in these plants, which offer an amazing investigation of what life has been on the planet. BRIT’s scientific research is also of interest to drug companies and other producers of consumer products made from plants. So the building has to support all research fronts—educational, medical, and scientific.”

To create this 69,000-square-foot building—which is almost seven times the size of its previous space—for programming and 32 staff members, the architects divided BRIT’s core functions into two separate wings and plotted them in an L-shape configuration overlooking the Botanical Gardens. One wing, dubbed by the architects as the “Think Block,” houses administration areas and research offices, classrooms, an exhibition area, and public spaces; the other, the “Archive Block,” holds the herbarium and library, according to Daria Pizzetta, the lead architect on the project at H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture.

Responding to the strong Texas sun, the design revolves around a play of light and shade, beginning with the Archive Block’s glazed public entrance lobby, where vistas of the surrounding landscape and the 300-foot-long Think Block await visitors. Access to eastern and northern light and views was consciously integrated throughout the spaces through strategic placement of windows, while tilt-up concrete shields much of the eastern, western, and southern sides of the building from harsher sun exposure.

Good seed makes a good crop

In collaboration with architect of record Corgan Associates, landscape architect Balmori Associates, and LEED coordinator theGreen Team, H3 designed the two-story facility to earn as many points as possible in all five categories of the LEED rating system to achieve Platinum certification. A photovoltaic system mounted on the roof of the Archive Block and geothermal wells, for example, enabled the building to gain all 17 points in the Energy & Atmosphere category. The organization benefits from an estimated energy savings of $37,000 per year. Several innovative features—a pond that collects rainwater and runoff through the parking lot, use of low-maintenance indigenous plants, and low-flow fixtures—enabled the project to score high in the Water Efficiency category. And by incorporating lots of windows and glazing, especially along the saw-toothed office side of the structure, the architects allowed natural sunlight to penetrate more than 75 percent of the building, helping the facility earn 12 of 15 points in the Indoor Environmental Quality category.

The interiors’ conscientious mix of recycled and sustainable materials enabled the building to score high in the Materials & Resources category. Textural paneling made of beautifully preserved cypress logs, which fell off logging barges and sank in the Mississippi more than 100 years ago, add character and warmth in the lobby, as well as contrast with the bamboo-covered ceilings. Additional eco-friendly touches in the interior include 100-percent wool carpeting and low-VOC wall paint in the office areas.

Now that its facility is complete, BRIT is fulfilling its purpose in engaging the community. “We’re very fortunate to have a building that embodies our mission,” says Sohmer. With its notable roster of museums—including Louis Kahn’s Kimball Museum, Philip Johnson’s Amon Carter Museum of American Art, and Tadao Ando’s Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth—the city of Forth Worth is fortunate, too, to have access to yet another local cultural treasure.

SOURCES

WHO
Design architect: H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture. Architect of Record: Corgan Associates. Architecture project team for H3: Hugh Hardy, FAIA; Daria Pizzetta, AIA; Gabriel Hernandez, AIA; Jon Holzheimer, AIA, Corgan; Regina Stamatiou, AIA, Corgan; Alan Richards, Corgan; Matt McDonald, Corgan. Interior designer: H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture. Interior design project team: Darlene Fridstein; Lauren Davino, LEED AP; Cathryn Dail, RID, LEED AP, Royer & Schutts. Contractor: Beck Group. MEP engineer: Summit Consultants. Structural engineer: L.A. Fuess. Landscape design: Balmori Associates. Signage and graphics consultants: Two Twelve Associates. Furniture dealer: Royer & Schutts.

WHAT
Wallcoverings: Maharam (exhibits, commons, and conference room). Paint: Benjamin Moore. Laminate: Formica. Flooring: Epoxy Terrazzo; Mannington Tile; Eco-Surfaces. Carpet: Bloomsburg; Atlas. Ceiling: Armstrong. Lighting: Haworth (task lights); Hubble (exit signs); Gotham; Lam Lighting; Altman; Corelight; Lithonia. Glass: Old Castle. Window treatments: MechoSystems. Workstations: Haworth. Seating: Cabot Wrenn (workstation seating); Haworth (task and conference room); Jofco (office corridor); Kimball Office (CEO’s office); Bernhardt (lobby); Kimball Office (rare book room); Gressco (children’s library); Haworth (resource center); VDS (classroom, commons, and herbarium stack chairs); Versteel (lab stools); Virco (grow lab). Tables: Haworth (classroom); Versteel (commons); Virco (children’s library and grow lab). Files cabinets: Lane (herbarium); Jackson USC Spacesaver (compact storage). Architectural woodworking: Cajun Cypress (lobby feature wall). Other furniture: National (casework and reception desk). Recycling containers: Magnuson.
 

 


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