Goodpaster Hall at St. Mary's College of Maryland shows that environmentally intelligent buildings can also be beautifully designed.
The 57,000 gross-square-foot teaching and research laboratory picked up the top Honor Award for Excellence in Design from the Maryland chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The jury commented that "this is a rich contextual response resulting in a very handsome building."
Designed by the Washington, D.C., office of SmithGroup, Goodpaster Hall also received "Project of the Year" honors from the U.S. Green Building Council's National Capital Region chapter in July, 2009, along with a Presidential Citation for Sustainable Design from the Washington, D.C., Chapter of the American Institute of Architects in September 2009.
"The Honor Award for Excellence in Design is meaningful because it recognizes the project's design achievement, not just its sustainable attributes," said Greg Mella, AIA, LEED AP, co-director of sustainable design at SmithGroup. "It dispels the myth that great design and green design are mutually exclusive and illustrates that sustainability is a necessary component of enduring design."
Goodpaster Hall supports programs in chemistry, psychology and education. The building includes classrooms, computer rooms, a 70-seat lecture hall, a curriculum center for educational studies, laboratories for chemistry and psychology, and animal housing quarters.
The project earned a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver rating in November, 2008, and is the first state-owned facility to achieve LEED certification in accordance with Maryland's Executive Order on sustainable design and a DC presidential citation. The Maryland Department of General Services managed the design and construction of the building.
Both design and sustainability are celebrated throughout the building. The campus has a distinctive, unified design aesthetic based on its 17th and 18th century Tidewater heritage. The design explores the connections between the traditional design aesthetics and sustainability. Examples include the trellises and porches that filter sunlight and the palette of durable, local materials.
"The directive to design a compelling, sustainable building while remaining faithful to our architectural heritage was essential," said Chip Jackson, associate vice president of planning and facilities at St. Mary's. "The recognition the project has received validates the premise that one does not need to make a choice between architectural context and green design."
The design of Goodpaster Hall reinforces the site's connection to the St. Mary's River and Chesapeake Bay, while creating a sequence of indoor and outdoor spaces. A variety of learning opportunities are created inside and out, linking learning activity to sustainable strategies. The major outdoor space, an enclosed entry courtyard, gathers seating and interaction areas around a stormwater fountain connected to a bio-retention garden on axis with views of the river beyond. Indoor learning environments incorporate natural ventilation and passive solar strategies reducing energy consumption, improving environmental quality, while taking advantage of orientation and site features.
SmithGroup is nationally recognized as a leader in the planning and design of sustainable environments. The firm brings inventive skill, vision, and an in-depth understanding of the issues affecting colleges and universities nationwide. With 346 LEED Accredited Professionals and 52 LEED certified projects, SmithGroup is a national leader in sustainable, environmentally intelligent design.
St. Mary's College of Maryland, designated the Maryland state honors college in 1992, is ranked one of the best public liberal arts schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. More than 2,000 students attend the college, nestled on the St. Mary's River in Southern Maryland.
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Sandra Knight, APR