No. 515 . 20 April 2011 
ArchitectureWeek

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AIA Top Green Buildings 2011

by ArchitectureWeek

The Kubala Washatko Architects faced a real challenge: create a large yet sympathetic addition to a Frank Lloyd Wright landmark. And the First Unitarian Society of Madison, Wisconsin, wanted this new structure to be very green to boot.

Tracing a gently curving arc southwest of the original 1951 building, the thoughtful new addition to the famous Unitarian Meeting House provides substantial new space for the congregation in a structural composition that respects Wright's design without mimicking it. What's more, the LEED Gold-certified, 24,300-square-foot (2,260-square-meter) building benefits from daylighting, energy-efficient heating and cooling, and improved stormwater management.

In recognition of its sustainable design, the Unitarian Meeting House addition has been named one of the Top Ten Green Projects for 2011 by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE).

Expanding Wright's Meeting House

Of the many green design features at the new Meeting House addition in Madison, two of note are the stormwater management system and the HVAC system.

While the facility's total footprint was doubled by the expansion project, stormwater runoff was virtually eliminated. Previously, severe runoff had caused localized flooding of neighboring properties. Now almost all stormwater is retained onsite. The system includes a vegetated roof, an underground infiltration chamber, two rain gardens, a series of bioswales, and a pervious, landscaped courtyard.

As for heating and cooling, the transfer of thermal loads via a radiant-floor system instead of through conventional forced-air systems contributes significantly to the addition's overall energy performance. The HVAC system conditions and supplies only the amount of outdoor air to occupied spaces that is needed for ventilation (air-exchange) purposes.   >>>

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