2008 AIA Top Ten Environmental Buildings

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ArchitectureThe American Last week, the Institute of Architecture announced its 2008 Top Ten Award Winners for Environmentally built projects. Among the list was the Pocono Environmental Education and Visitor Center (pictured left) in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The building is 7,750 square feet, and is going to be used to inform the public about important environmental issues, and what they can do to make a difference. Other than the building being visually appealing, to enter it, visitors first walk through a forest, and cross a wetland before they get to it. The building is designed to “take full advantage of the warmth of the sun, cool mountain breezes, abundant natural light, and views of the forest”. KEep reading for more information on the environmental aspects of the building, and to see the other 9 Award winners.

The north wall at the main entrance to the building is clad in shingles cut from reclaimed tires gathered from local sources where they had been discarded. Operable windows provide natural ventilation to the main activity space, encouraging occupants to think about their own comfort and the environmental impacts of heating and cooling. South-facing windows provide passive solar gain in the winter, lowering heating costs. Overall, the building was designed to be resource and energy efficient, both from a first-cost standpoint and from an operational one due to the tight budgetary constraints of this small environmental center. 

And the other 9 Award Winners are available for viewing at the AIA’s Top Ten page.

Photo credit: Nic Lehoux env