Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

What’s Old is New (and Green) Again

A former Pittsburgh public works building has been transformed into one of the greenest buildings in the world.




 

After the opening of the Center for Sustainable Landscapes, an education, research and administration facility, it was hard to imagine that Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens could get any greener.

Enter the Exhibit Staging Center.
 


 

As a former city public works building, the structure was never one you would call “green.” With block wall masonry, a flat roof and no windows, the industrial facility was a typical design of the 1960s. But instead of demolishing the building, Phipps adapted and transformed it into the Exhibit Staging Center (ESC), a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose sustainable building. 

“The greenest building is one that’s already here,” says Richard Piacentini, Phipps President and CEO. “So we thought if we could actually take this building and convert it into a super-green building, that would make a lot more sense than tearing it down and start[ing] from scratch.”
 


 

As part of its green designation, the ESC will have features such as a large number of windows to maximize natural light, a vegetative living wall, geothermal wells for heating and cooling, solar panels on the roof and wetlands that will store, recycle and treat rainwater for use in the building.

“If you look at Pittsburgh, we have a lot of old buildings all around. If we can convince people and show people that you don’t have to tear them down to do something green . . . I think that makes a real powerful statement,” Piacentini says.
 


 

Upon the ESC’s completion and certification, Phipps will be the home of the greenest buildings in the world (the Center for Sustainable Landscapes, Nature Lab and the ESC) showcasing new, existing and modular construction types. 

The primary occupants of the ESC will be maintenance and grounds crew; the building is designed to ensure that the health and well being of all staff members is a top priority, and it will also include a meditation room, yoga studio and fitness room.
 


 

“We care about all our staff, and I think traditionally maintenance staff gets some of the worst buildings,” Piacentini says. “We think they should deserve as good a building as everyone else.”

The ESC will also be open to visitors for a behind-the-scenes look at Phipps’ past and future flower shows, including a glimpse at the construction of display props and a chance to see inside the Phipps Vault, where historic topiaries and props from past shows will be on display. Piacentini says that this is one of his favorite parts of the building.

“Our flower shows are incredibly popular to people, and people always wonder, ‘how do they do it?’ and here’s a chance to come in and see some of it in action,” he says.

Learn more and plan your visit at phipps.conservatory.org.

Sponsored content is created and paid for by the marketer.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Why These 6 Days in 1969 Were So Important to Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Magazine is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, but we're not the only ones. We take a look at six notable events from 1969.

Women in Power: The Pros Changing Allegheny County

Allegheny County breaks the old boys’ club by placing women in key positions.

Growing Together: Farmers and Chefs Elevate Pittsburgh Dining

These seven farmer/chef pairings are leading the charge toward more vital vegetable dishes.

Afraid to Go to the Dentist? Consider the Sedation Solution

For some patients, dental work wouldn’t be possible if they were fully alert.

Restaurant Review: Spirits & Tales at the Oaklander Hotel

Executive chef Jessica Lewis’ strong voice is undermined by inconsistencies throughout the restaurant.

Perspectives: A Big Life

A former newspaper reporter's assignment leads to a lifelong friendship with a man who battled a food addiction.

George S. Kaufman’s Sensational Scandal

The Pittsburgh-born playwright made tabloid headlines in the 1930s. (it didn’t slow him down a bit.)

You Can Ride a Roller Coaster Classic

Roller coaster history is hidden nearby — and not where you might think.

Tea, Cake and Death: A Safe Place to Discuss a Scary Subject

“Death Cafes” seek to reduce taboos around the act of dying.

How He Makes the Mundane Sound Magical

Experimental sound artist R. Weis creates otherworldly sonic compositions from everyday materials.

Uber’s New Service Puts Riders in the Driver’s Seat

Passengers in Pittsburgh now can pay for a most customized experience with Uber Comfort.

The 400-Word Review: Secret Obsession

Netflix is on a bit of a hot streak with its original thrillers. Unfortunately, this dud isn't part of it.

After Dark Hall of Fame: Primanti Bros.

The beloved bar-and-restaurant chain has become a Pittsburgh emblem. It's the 10th inductee in the After Dark Hall of Fame.

Do You Want to Pay More Taxes to Improve Parks?

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy hopes to restore the city’s parks to their former glory, but they may need a tax increase to do so.

The Latest Restaurant and Bar Openings in Pittsburgh

We say hello to a new concept from Justin Severino, a summer-long dance pop-up and a new spot for cocktails.