Design Excellence Meets Sustainability at Connecticut Science Center in Hartford

Designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli of New Haven (the World Financial Center and Petronas Towers), which won an international design competition for the commission, the $150 million Connecticut Science Center is quickly taking form along downtown Hartford’s waterfront. The 370,000 square foot facility will seek a LEED Silver rating from USGBC, standing six stories tall [...]

Designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli of New Haven (the World Financial Center and Petronas Towers), which won an international design competition for the commission, the $150 million Connecticut Science Center is quickly taking form along downtown Hartford’s waterfront. The 370,000 square foot facility will seek a LEED Silver rating from USGBC, standing six stories tall across 2.5 acres adjacent to the Connecticut Convention Center on the site of a former brownfield. The Center will offer an education center studying the Connecticut River Watershed, various exhibition spaces, a theater, and a roof garden with river views when it opens up next fall.

Specific green measures include solar panels, passive solar design, efficient selection of materials, and lockers and showers for employees who bike to work. In addition to its sustainable features, the project also includes some unique design elements, including a perforated stainless steel wall that will change color at night, as well as a “magic carpet roof,” which rests on glass but appears to float on air when viewed from a distance.

Integrated design, coupled with a cooperative construction team, is essential for a successful green project. The Science Center’s architectural complexity, unique engineering, and relatively tight budget (two thirds of its funding came from the state of Connecticut), demanded “a rigorous collaboration between the architect, the builder, the exhibit designer, and the owner,” as Matt Fleury, COO of the Center, told New York Construction. It appears that the Center was well-prepared to meet these challenges, which were further complicated by the project’s sustainable design features. The project team includes Whiting-Turner Construction Management, structural engineer Thornton-Tomasetti, and sustainability/LEED consultants Steven Winters and Viridian.

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