PHIPPS CONSERVATORY AND BOTANICAL GARDENS’ TROPICAL FOREST CONSERVATORY RECEIVES 4TH ANNUAL “BUILDY” AWARD FOR ITS RADICAL INNOVATIONS IN DESIGN
The winner of the fourth Building Museums® “Buildy” Award is Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens’ Tropical Forest Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA. The Buildy Award jury was impressed that the design team started from scratch to reconsider how a conservatory or greenhouse uses 21st Century technologies. The team came up with a combination of features that reduced winter heating costs by half and completely eliminated summer cooling costs.
Recognizing that double-paned or insulating glass would be important in order to retain heat in Pittsburgh’s northern winters, but that this glass would not allow enough of the needed light frequencies to reach the tropical plants, the team threw out the traditional shape of the standard greenhouse and created a new one. They made the south wall vertical and high enough that all the low winter light came through it and used single pane glass on only that surface. That left a long glass roof sloping to the north. They not only used double-paned glass on this roof, but also designed computer-controlled retractable insulating blankets to keep out the winter cold. Then they made more than half of this roof hinged to open up in summer when they needed to let heatescape. This naturally rising hot summer air pulls in fresh air which the team directed through underground concrete pipes to cool it. To learn about additional innovations, see the project fact sheet.
Completed in 2006, the Tropical Forest Conservatoryis the second phase of a revolutionary 3-phase transformation of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in support of its mission to inspire and educate visitors with the beauty of plants, to advance sustainability and worldwide biodiversity through action and research, and to celebrate its historic glasshouse. The Tropical Forest Conservatory provides a dramatic, energy-efficient environment for both changing horticultural exhibits as well as special events and is the first greenhouse expected to secure ENERGY STAR and LEED® certification. The award will be accepted by Richard V. Piacentini, executive director of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, at the 8th annual Building Museums Symposium in Philadelphia.
The “Buildy” Award will be presented on March 6, 2012 at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.
The award is a highlight of the 2012 Building Museums® Symposium presented by the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums.
For more information about the Buildy project, please download information.
About Phipps’ Tropical Forest Conservatory: At the time of its opening in December 2006, the Tropical Forest Conservatory was the most energy-efficient conservatory in the world, as well as the first structure of its kind on Earth to use a fuel cell for electricity. Today, 100% of its electrical needs, as well as those of the rest of the campus, are met with solar power and wind energy that is generated both on and off site. Phipps has also raised the bar with this conservatory by incorporating a dynamic ethnobotanic exhibit – that changes every three years - exploreing the connection between cultures and plants. As beautiful as it is sustainable, the Conservatory was selected by President Obama as the host site for the World Leaders reception and dinner during the 2009 G-20 Summit.
The Conservatory’s sustainable innovations and technologies include:
· A radical roof venting system in which half of the 12,000 square feet of glass panes can open fully, eliminating the “greenhouse effect”, coupled with earth tubes, fogging and computer controlled shading , that cool the structure and use virtually no energy to do so.
· An unconventional building shape that allows use of energy-saving insulated roof glass while still maintaining proper light levels for growing plants
· Earth tubes that provide totally passive cooling
The project is the work of a large interdisciplinary design and Construction team that includes IKM Inc., Architect; Turner Construction, General Contractor; FTC&H, MEP Engineers; MTR, Landscape Architects, CLR, Exhibit Design, Montgomery Smith Inc., Greenhouse Consultant; Indevco, Owners Representative.
For more information about Phipps Conservatory and the project, visit http://phipps.conservatory.org
About the Building Museums® Symposium:
Building Museums® is an international symposium presented annually by the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums (MAAM) and open to all interested in the design and planning of museums. The 8th Annual Symposium will be held in Philadelphia, March 4-6, 2012 with sessions at the University of Pennsylvania Museum, the National Museum of American Jewish History and the National Constitution Center.
This symposium is for museum leaders and staff, architects, planners, project managers, technical experts, and all those who plan or implement new construction, renovation, or expansion projects for museums. The goals of the program are to:
- Better understand the process of planning, implementing, and surviving new construction, renovation, or expansion projects
- Examine case studies, current trends, topical issues, and specific projects related to building projects across a broad range of museum sizes, budgets, scope, diversity of disciplines, and collecting vs. non-collections-holding institutions
- Actively discuss museum building projects with other museum professionals, architects, planners, project managers, and technical experts to better inform the process of building
Access resources for museum leaders and staff, architectural firms, consultants, and students through the Building Museums® Resource Guide