Thursday, January 25, 2007

First Green Convention Center in Pittsburgh

by Emily form

In a city that’s seen a remarkable urban resurgence in the past decade, Pittsburgh’s David Lawrence Convention Center stands along the Allegheny River as a beacon of both beautiful architecture and innovative green design. Designed by architect Rafael Viñoly, the waterfront building is certified with a Gold LEED rating, and is both the largest “green” building and first “green” convention center. Aside from its eye-catching aesthetic, Viñoly’s design boasts an impressive list of green architectural elements and high-tech systems, from large glass curtain walls that admit consistent daylight (over 75% of the center’s exhibition spaces are naturally lit) to a state-of-the-art water reclamation system that reduces potable water usage by almost sixty percent. And the list goes on…

Green in its form and architecture, the design of the center takes full advantage of its context, using the natural airflow from the river to ventilate the entire complex. This architectural solution, combined with other energy-saving tactics, results in annual energy savings of over 35 percent. In terms of materials, the structure integrates a slew of green components including low- and no-VOC paints and non-toxic carpeting. The center has also put into effect an extensive recycling program that both recognizes and mitigates the wasteful and ephemeral nature of the exhibitions and trade shows it houses. The convention center serves as a new model of a hyper-functional, aesthetically-stunning green building, proving that large-scale, utilititarian buildings need not sacrifice function or aesthetic to be environmentally responsible.

+ David Lawrence Convention Center
+ Rafael Viñoly Architects

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