With block wall masonry, a flat roof and no windows, the former public works building that was the site of this adaptive-reuse project in Pittsburgh is a typical industrial facility of the 1960s—not the kind of building most would associate with sustainable design. In 2019, Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens’ representatives adapted this structure into an Exhibit Staging Center (ESC) with a dynamic, modernized design and the ambitious goal of achieving three of the world’s most rigorous building standards: Living Building Challenge, LEED Platinum and WELL Platinum. The ESC showcases the latest advancements in green-building technology, transforming a dilapidated space on a former brownfield site into a safe, healthy environment for people, plants and animals.
PHOTOS: Rob Larson Photography unless otherwise noted; Before: Hawkeye Aerial Photography; Header: Paul g. Wiegman
OWNER and METAMORPHOSIS AWARD WINNER: Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, Pittsburgh
ARCHITECT: FortyEighty Architecture, Pittsburgh
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Studio Phipps, Pittsburgh
BIOPHILIC CONSULTANT: Shepley Bulfinch, Phoenix
TRANSPARENT FINISHES: AFM Safecoat
INSULATION BOARD: Kingspan Insulation
DOMESTIC WATER AND HYDRONIC PIPING: Uponor
FIRE SUPPRESSION AND SANITARY WASTE PIPING SPECIALTIES: Zurn
SHEATHING: National Gypsum
ROOF ACCESSORIES: Bilco
TOILET, BATH AND LAUNDRY ACCESSORIES: Bradley Corp.
PLASTIC TOILET COMPARTMENTS AND LOCKERS: Scranton Products
HVAC: Taco Comfort Solutions