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Testing & Analysis

When Buildings Must Perform

29 Nov, 2013 By: Heather Livingston

Technology plays a critical supporting role in architects’ efforts to meet requirements for energy use and occupant comfort.


When the Obama administration made federal funds available for shovel-ready building projects through stimulus measures in 2009, new life was breathed into many projects of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). One such project was the planned renovation of the Edith Green–Wendell Wyatt Federal Building in Portland, Oregon.

The renovation of the Edith Green–Wendell Wyatt Federal Building in Portand, Oregon, brought together not only LEED compliance, but also performance-driven design: The building must meet specific requirements for energy and water consumption and other environmental impacts. The west facade's vertical reeds provide a dramatic skyline statement while supporting building performance goals. INSET: Openings were cut into into the exterior slab to allow natural light to flood the lower-level conference center.
The renovation of the Edith Green–Wendell Wyatt Federal Building in Portand, Oregon, brought together not only LEED compliance, but also performance-driven design: The building must meet specific requirements for energy and water consumption and other environmental impacts. The west facade's vertical reeds provide a dramatic skyline statement while supporting building performance goals. INSET: Openings were cut into into the exterior slab to allow natural light to flood the lower-level conference center.

All images by Nic Lehoux.

In 2006, GSA had engaged the services of SERA Architects and Cutler Anderson Architects to redesign the 35-year-old building, but federal support wasn't available to execute the project at that time. But with funds earmarked by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), GSA embarked upon a $139 million modernization in spring 2009 that had to deliver a very high level of performance — high enough to garner a LEED Gold rating.

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