Smith College’s Bechtel Environmental Classroom in Whately, Mass., became the fifth building in the world to achieve a full Living Building certification. The building had to fulfill 20 requirements under seven different “petals”: equity, beauty, health, site, water, energy and materials.
The building is located in the middle of New England’s Knowledge Corridor, an education and innovation heavy region that includes north-central Connecticut and Western Massachusetts’s Pioneer Valley. The building is 2,500 square-feet and is a 15-minute drive away from the Northampton campus. It’s surrounded by 240-acres of forest and farm pastures and is designated for environmental research, outdoor education and low-impact recreation.
The building was designed by Amherst-based Coldham & Hartman Architects and built by Scapes Builders. The classroom has a wood-frame structure with a seminar room, multipurpose room, kitchenette, instructional lab and outdoor gather space. The building was completed in 2012, but went through a year’s worth of testing before being certified as “Living.”
The classroom is used by several departments at Smith College, with the main user being Smith’s Center for the Environment, Ecological Design and Sustainability (CEEDS).
The total price for the project, not including land costs was $1.78 million. In the next few months a sixth Living Building project is expected – Seattle’s Bullitt Center.
View the full article at mnn.com.