With block wall masonry, a flat roof and no windows, the City of Pittsburgh's former public works building is a typical industrial facility of the 1960s — but it's not the kind of building most would associate with sustainable design. In 2019, Phipps adapted this structure into its Exhibit Staging Center (ESC) with a dymanic, modernized design and the ambitious goal of achieving three of the world's most rigorous building standards: Living Building Challenge, LEED® Platinum and WELL Platinum. As an addition to the guest experience, the ESC offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Conservatory’s historic and future flower shows. Upon fulfillment of the Living Building Challenge’s one-year performance period, Phipps will have three Living Building projects on its site, each showcasing a different construction type: new (CSL), modular (SEED) and retrofit (ESC). The resulting “living campus” will emerge as the first multi-facility living system of its kind in the world.
Photos © Phil Johnson II, Paul g. Wiegman