Inside and outside, this building comes across initially as nice, but seemingly a bit buttoned down, handsome yet perhaps a bit conventional in affect.
And then there's the windmill.
Or wind turbine, more properly fully half the height of the Statue of Liberty including her pedestal, standing at a safely air-drag-free distance from the edifice.
And there's the lobby graced with an elegant, egalitarian cafeteria... not to mention sound-softening waterfall... clerestory light scoops above... rainwater plumbing... staff pantries... amazing view alignments... lake-integrated groundwater heat pumping...
And there's Minnesota's largest PV array to date, mostly hidden a-rooftop.
There are graceful, daylit, transparent spaces, one after another, in which to work through a day, sunny or gray.
The Great River Energy Headquarters, LEED Platinum-certified, which we toured with Doug Pierce of Perkins + Will and Gary Connett of Great River Energy, turns out to be nothing like a run-of-the-mill corporate work-box, the shopping mall across the street notwithstanding.
Like other Platinum-certified buildings we have visited and like the Renzo Piano cover story by Mike Crosbie in this issue of ArchitectureWeek this is a building built deeply and with love.
It will be interesting to see how the love and craft of architecture, imbued in this building by the Perkins + Will-anchored design team, might shine through in the formal post-occupancy evaluation study we hope to report on later this year.
On the road in Minnesota,
Editor in Chief