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    Green Top Ten - Office Buildings

    1315 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GeorgiaIowa Utilities Board Building, Des Moines, Iowa
    Mercy Corps Headquarters, Portland, OregonChandler City Hall, Chandler, Arizona

    Mercy Corps Headquarters • Portland, Oregon


    Mercy Corps, an international aid organization, has a stunning new LEED Platinum home base in Portland, Oregon. The organization opted to locate its headquarters in the city's transit-rich downtown, combining an existing historic building with a highly sustainable new addition of about the same size.

    THA Architecture designed the four-story, 85,000-square-foot (7,900-square-meter) Mercy Corps Headquarters, which ArchitectureWeek editor David Owen wrote about in December 2009, just after its LEED Platinum certification was received.

    ArchWeek Image
    THA Architecture designed the LEED Platinum-certified Mercy Corps Headquarters in the Skidmore Fountain historic district of downtown Portland, Oregon. The project sensitively combines the existing Packer-Scott Building (1892) with an adjacent new building of roughly the same size. Photo: Jeff Amram Extra Large Image

    Befitting a project blending new and old, the addition's exterior features a weaving motif: a terra cotta rainscreen whose pattern was inspired by textile artifacts collected by the organization. The material palette and fenestration complement the red-brick Packer-Scott Building (1892), almost 90 percent of which was retained or reused in the project.

    The addition extends over a former parking lot to the east, with an overall east-west orientation dictated by the existing street grid. The design takes advantage of the existing small openings on the west and south sides of the historic building to limit heat gain from the afternoon sun. The new portion of the long south facade features similar glazing percentages, while the new east end of the building, facing the Willamette River, is primarily glazed.

    The nonprofit organization sought to maximize the lifespan and flexibility of the building, which informed a variety of decisions. Exterior materials were chosen to be durable and require little maintenance. To obviate the need for relocation, the facility was designed to accommodate a future expansion to the north, and if that occurs, the terra cotta rainscreen can be disassembled to the extent necessary and reused.

    The office interior is also designed for flexibility. Its open layout facilitates daylighting and fosters the organization's egalitarian office culture. Office furniture consists of a modular system that allows for easy rearrangements, with low, translucent end panels to help share daylight throughout the space.

    The building has outperformed its projected EUI of 12.6 kWh/ft2/year (136 kWh/m2/year), achieving 10.6 kWh/ft2/year (114 kWh/m2/year) in a post-occupancy survey, with a photovoltaic installation planned.



    ArchWeek Image

    The new portion of the Mercy Corps Headquarters building is clad in glass and a terra cotta rainscreen system.
    Photo: Jeff Amram Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    The glazed east-facing facade of the Mercy Corps Headquarters provides office workers with views of the adjacent Waterfront Park, Willamette River, and Portland's inner-eastside neighborhoods.
    Photo: Lara Swimmer Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    A skylit atrium, standing at the joint between the old and new buildings, serves as a central circulation space for the Mercy Corps Headquarters. This grand stair also provides stack ventilation for the building.
    Photo: Lara Swimmer Extra Large Image

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    A neon sign points the way from the central atrium to the portion of the Mercy Corps Headquarters that was formerly the Packer-Scott Building.
    Photo: Lara Swimmer Extra Large Image

    Chandler City Hall • Chandler, Arizona

    The city of Chandler, Arizona, has a new city hall that brings together formerly dispersed municipal departments, creating a new community center for this Phoenix suburb.

    Designed by SmithGroupJJR, the 187,000-square-foot (17,400-square-meter) Chandler City Hall complex occupies two formerly underused blocks in the city's historic downtown, where the City of Chandler sought to catalyze a revitalization. At the north end of the site stands the City's main five-story office tower. The surrounding one- and two-story buildings house functions such as council chambers, an art gallery, a neighborhood redevelopment office, and parking.

    The office tower is oriented east-west to maximize northern and southern exposure, and features passive shading strategies on all but the north facade to screen out the desert sun. Most distinctive is the west facade, which features an intricate shading system design by artist Ned Kahn. Called Turbulent Shade, this functional artwork consists of 1,800 hinged, perforated stainless-steel panels that move in the wind.

    Extending the structures to the edges of the site contributed positively to the urban pedestrian experience while also allowing for the creation of a landscaped central courtyard that both facilitates cooling strategies and serves as a community asset.

    A water feature at the south end of the courtyard is part of an open-loop system that allows water from the cooling towers to cascade into a pool. As prevailing winds enter the courtyard, facilitated by the form of the office building to the north, an evaporative cooling effect is created. This combines with shaded walkways and desert landscaping to lower the effective temperature.

    Chandler City Hall's total EUI is 12.6 kWh/ft2/year (136 kWh/m2/year). A proposed 330-kilowatt photovoltaic array on the parking structure would lower the effective EUI to 9.85 kWh/ft2/year (106 kWh/m2/year) and would represent a 63 percent reduction in net energy use from the regional average.

    Announced by the AIA on April 19, 2012, the AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects for 2012 will be honored at the AIA National Convention and Design Exposition in Washington, D.C., May 17 to 19, 2012.

    The 2012 jury included Clark S. Brockman, AIA, SERA Architects, Inc.; Steve L. Dumez, FAIA, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple; Scott Shell, FAIA, EHDD Architecture; Laura Lee, FAIA, Carnegie Mellon University; Paul Schwer, PAE Consulting Engineers; and Sue Barnett, Sue Barnett Sustainable Design.

    ArchWeek Image

    Chandler City Hall section drawing looking west, and facade-shading perspective renderings.
    Image: SmithGroupJJR Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    A second-floor outdoor terrace within the office-block portion of Chandler City Hall overlooks the adjacent street.
    Photo: Bill Timmerman Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    The new City Hall for Chandler, Arizona, comprises a five-story office block alongside a one-story array of publicly accessible spaces and a two-story parking garage.
    Photo: Bill Timmerman Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    The glazed facades on the upper office floors of Chandler City Hall are shaded by horizontal louvers on the south side and an artistic shading system of hinged stainless-less panels on the west side.
    Photo: Bill Timmerman Extra Large Image

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    The central courtyard of Chandler City Hall is bounded by one-story spaces to the east and west, and by the office block to the north.
    Photo: Bill Timmerman Extra Large Image

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