By Nick Gilbert
The Barnes Foundation’s new construction is the first leading art and education institution in the nation to be honoured with the highest environmental authentication by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). It was presented the USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum award.
Derek Gillman, President and Executive Director of the Barnes Foundation, expressed pleasure in accepting the LEED Platinum award that is an acknowledgement of the Barnes employees’ and Board’s undertaking to create an aesthetic, sustainable and functional home for Barnes in Philadelphia. He expressed additional thanks to Billie Tsien, Tod Williams and also the entire architectural team who put in consistent creative efforts to achieve this accolade. The efforts are apparent in the illumination of the art collection at Barnes. Gillman added that intelligent use of natural light in the building, especially in the galleries, has produced impressive results and has reduced power usage. Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects together with Landscape Architects OLIN created the design of the new premises and landscape on the 4.5 ac site, Fisher Marantz Stone worked on the lighting design, and Associate Architects Ballinger on the project’s LEED endeavour.
Besides choosing a site concentrating on accessibility and redevelopment, other green elements incorporated include a roof with vegetation, considerable reduction of power usage, choosing materials from local, recycled and reusable content (such as floor salvaged from Coney Island’s boardwalk), and adopting water-saving measures on the premises. The new design will reduce potable water usage by 44%, which will be further aided by aesthetic greenery that adorns the surroundings which were chosen for their sturdiness and endurance against drought.