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The Year’s Best Buildings Revealed

Monday, November 12, 2012

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White, reflective and green roofs; spray foam insulation; and low-VOC paints and finishes are among the forward-thinking technologies employed in America’s best buildings.

Baystate Medical Center aerial view
Don Couture / Buildings.com

One of America's Best Buildings of 2012, Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA, features white reflective rooftops.

Eleven of those facilities were recently honored in the 2012 America’s Best Buildings of the Year (ABBY) Awards, an annual contest hosted by Buildings Magazine.

This year’s winners include a group of commercial and institutional facilities that demonstrate “fresh techniques for new construction and renovation projects,” according to Buildings.

Common features of the winners include:

  • An emphasis on energy efficiency;
  • Forward-looking designs;
  • Purposeful renovation;
  • Community engagement; and
  • Streamlined facility operations.

Three Grand Prize Facilities

A health-care addition, a college building renovation, and a research facility modernization project earned the Grand Prizes in the contest. More information on the winners is available by clicking on the project name below.

Baystate Medical Center (Springfield, MA)

This new 641,000-square-foot clinical facility features white, reflective rooftops as well as a 15,000-square-foot green roof “healing garden” visible from upper floors of the facility, according to Buildings’ report.

Baystate Medical Center healing garden

The Baystate Medical Center features a green roof "healing garden" with walkways.

The project team included Suffolk Construction; Steffian Bradley Architects; LeMessurier Consultants; and Vanderweil Engineers.

Berg Instructional Center (Glen Ellyn, IL)

A complete renovation and significant expansion brought the deteriorating and outdated Berg Instructional Center, at the College of DuPage, up to date, according to the project details.

Berg Instructural Center
Mariusz Mizera / buildings.com

An updated brightly colored facade was installed over the original leaky exterior at the Berg Instructional Center at the College of DuPage.

One of the project challenges involved updating the building’s aged and leaky façade. The center’s original steel and single-pane glass with rubber gasket façade was “riddled with air and water infiltration issues,” the report said.

Thus, a high-performance colorful aluminum curtainwall and phenolic rain screen was installed over the original façade and the glass was removed. The new exterior wall boasts an R-value of 31.9, the report noted.

The project team included Loebl Schlossman & Hackl, M.A. Mortenson Company and KJWW Engineers.

Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building (Boulder, CO)

This 336,800-square-foot research facility reportedly sets the tone for future buildings on the University of Colorado, Boulder campus.

Biotechnology building at the University of Colorado
Frank Oooms Photography / buildings.com

The Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building at the University of Colorado features a fluid-applied air barrier and other technologies.

The building envelope features a fluid-applied air barrier, exterior-applied insulation, and a brick and stone façade. The project team hopes to achieve LEED Platinum certification, according to the report.

The project team included JE Dunn Construction; Robert A.M. Stern; HDR Architecture; Cator, Ruma & Associates; and M-E Engineers Inc.

Merit Award Winners

Buildings also selected eight commercial and institutional buildings as Merit Award winners. More information and photos of the projects are available by clicking on the project names below.

One merit award-winning project of particular interest was the 205,000-square-foot Dow Business Process Services Center in Midland, MI. The new construction features a wall system with continuous insulation, flashing and an air barrier on exterior walls, according to project details.

Dow Business Process Services Center
Dow Chemical Company / buildings.com

Low-VOC paints, finishes and adhesives were used at Dow's Business Process Services Center in Midland, MI.

Moreover, spray foam insulation was installed under the white reflective roof, the slab, and around the foundation, to provide long-term R-value and energy efficiency, the project report said.

The interiors feature low-VOC paints, finishes, adhesives as well, the report noted.

About the ABBY Awards and Buildings

The ABBY awards recognize a commitment to sustainable innovation in new construction or renovation projects. Buildings is a building design, construction, and facilities management publication.


Tagged categories: Awards and honors; Building envelope; Building facades; Color; Energy efficiency; Green building

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