Page E1.1 . 05 August 2009                     
ArchitectureWeek - Environment Department
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    QUIZ

    Postcard from Maple Grove

    ArchWeek Image

    Great River Energy Headquarters in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Photography by Kevin Matthews.

    ArchWeek Image

    The building enfronts a groundwater lake (restored from an old gravel quarry), which provides the heat sink for groundwater heat pumps — as well as habitat for the great blue heron who flew in during our tour.

    ArchWeek Image

    The 160-foot-tall, 200-kilowatt refurbished wind turbine is an exciting neighborhood landmark, which also provides more than 10% of the building's total energy needs.

    ArchWeek Image

    Thin office stacks with glazed interior walls flanking clerestoried atriums get daylight from both exterior and interior.

     

    Click on thumbnail images to view full-size pictures.


     
    Dear ArchitectureWeek,

    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,

    Kevin Matthews
    Editor in Chief
    ArchitectureWeek

     
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