Page E2.1 . 08 October 2003                     
ArchitectureWeek - Environment Department
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    Sustainable Center for Woods Hole

    by Mark Rylander, AIA

    It has become common in recent years for architectural clients to take an interest in energy conservation. But a research organization dedicated to studying the effects of human activities on the environment has a responsibility to go still further to apply sustainability as a guiding principle.

    So when the Woods Hole Research Center sought an architecture firm to lead the design for its new campus in Falmouth, Massachusetts, they chose William McDonough + Partners (WM+P), a firm known for its sense of responsibility for sustainable design and building.

    The design involved the conversion of, and addition to, a 19th-century summer home to create 19,900 square feet (1850 square meters) of offices and laboratories. The client and the architecture firm both wanted to demonstrate how modern construction can "harmonize with a habitable earth" and to show how human activity can go far in preserving the functional integrity of the landscape.

    We also wanted to make the building itself a pedagogical tool that would encourage thoughtful materials selection, energy efficiency, water management, and site design. So we sought solutions that could be replicated by others in the region. Beyond merely conserving energy, we wanted the building to generate as much energy as it uses annually without burning fossil fuels or even having any combustion on the site.   >>>

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    The Woods Hole Research Center, designed by William McDonough + Partners has a new high-performance campus in a converted 19th-century summer home in Falmouth, Massachusetts.
    Photo: McDonough + Partners

    ArchWeek Image

    A modern addition behind the old house is elongated along an east-west axis to optimize passive solar performance.
    Photo: McDonough + Partners


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