Top firm will design ‘green’ FES building

An award-winning London architecture firm has been selected from a pool of 24 companies worldwide to design the new $27 million “green” Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies building, which is scheduled for completion between spring and summer 2008.

Hopkins Architects — whose co-founder Sir Michael Hopkins was knighted for his services to architecture in 1995 — will plan the building, which will use self-sustaining energy sources, minimize air pollution and reuse its waste. Construction materials will be recycled, nontoxic and sustainably harvested. Three engineering firms — Arup, Atelier Ten, and Connecticut-based Centerbrook Architects and Planners — will also assist with design and construction.

Stephen Kellert, a social ecology professor and chair of the environment school’s building committee, said Hopkins was chosen for its experience in creating designs that have minimal negative impact on the environment and promote human health.

“We are trying to achieve something new, which is climate neutrality, with no net carbon emissions, waste or pollution,” Kellert said. “We also want to create a positive experience for people in the building, increasing their health by incorporating natural ventilation and lighting and the use of natural materials. Hopkins has accomplished this to an extent rarely seen by architects.”

Director of Hopkins Architects Mike Taylor said the firm is pleased to have been chosen to design the 50,000 square-foot building, which will be named after Yale alumnus Richard Kroon ’64.

“We’re very excited to build this building, especially given Yale’s history and reputation,” Taylor said. “The challenge for us is to bring our experience in sustainable design to campus. We hope to make a benchmark for building designs incorporating climate neutrality.”

Taylor said the firm will complete a schematic design of the building, which will be located on Science Hill, over the next few months.

David Spalding, a senior mechanical engineer and project manager with Yale’s facilities department, said the building may employ wind or solar power.

“[But] it would be premature to say what will be included, because first there must be a thorough investigation of different options,” he said.

Environment School Dean Gus Speth said the Kroon building — which will include classrooms, a library, faculty offices, administrative offices and the $4 million Carl and Emily Knobloch Environmental Center — will be both a functional and symbolic statement for the school.

“It will be Yale’s most green building, a symbol of the school’s ideals and values and a powerful expression in beautiful form of our relationship to the environment,” Speth said in a press release. “It will be an inspirational and instructional model of sustainable design.”

The Kroon building will meet the “platinum” standard in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System and will be part of the redevelopment of Sachem’s Wood, a large open space adjacent to Sage Hall.

University President Richard Levin said the building will set the standard for sustainable architecture on and off campus.

Hopkins Architects, one of the largest firms in the United Kingdom, has operated for nearly three decades and is currently involved in the $100 million green redevelopment of Northern Arizona University’s campus. Founders Sir Michael and Patty Hopkins won the 1995 Royal Institute of British Architects Royal Gold Medal.

Atelier Ten, the architect’s sustainability consultant, has guided construction of the Yale engineering research building on the corner of Trumbull and Prospect streets and what will be Philadelphia’s first green high rise. Centerbrook has designed over 143 major projects for 50 different campuses across the United States, including the six-story, 22,000 square-foot Yale Child Study Center on South Frontage Road. Arup has worked on projects including the California Academy of Sciences, the Plant Sciences Building in Missouri and an airport terminal for China’s Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport.

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