Frick Environmental Center Pittsburgh Building

Frick Environmental Center in Pittsburgh Building, Pennsylvania Design, American Property

Frick Environmental Center Pittsburgh Building

Environmental Education Development in Pennsylvania, USA – design by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson architects

May 15, 2018

Frick Environmental Center Building

Frick Environmental Center in Pittsburgh by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Design: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, architects

Location: Pittsburgh, USA

Frick Environmental Center Achieves Prestigious Living Building Certification

After more than a year of extensive testing and documentation, the Frick Environmental Center (FEC) has achieved Living Building certification, the world’s most rigorous proven performance standard by the International Living Future Institute. Designed by renowned architecture firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, the FEC is the first Living Building in the U.S. that is municipally owned and free and open to the public.

Frick Environmental Center Pittsburgh Building

“The international recognition of the Frick Environmental Center is the perfect reflection of the deeply-rooted convictions shared by the City of Pittsburgh, the Parks Conservancy, and the entire construction and design team,” said Patricia Culley, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson senior associate and FEC project architect.

Completed in 2016, the 16,000-square-foot center was certified LEED Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council in December 2017, received an Award of Excellence from AIA Committee on Education in April, and recognized with a Leadership Award by the Green Building Alliance last fall for its role in a decade-long vision of incorporating the world’s highest sustainability standards into a free, public, municipally owned building.

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson collaborated with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, the City of Pittsburgh, construction manager PJ Dick, and landscape architects LaQuatra Bonci to bring the environmental center to life. Made possible via donations and a community-based process that began in 2011, the facility allows students of all ages to partake in environmental classes, events, and programs. It also acts as a gateway to the 644-acre Frick Park, encouraging visitors to experience the surrounding landscape.

The FEC is one of only 21 buildings in the world to achieve Living Building-certification; the facility is the second certified in Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania, sharing the honor with the Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes. However, the center is the first building to meet the Living Building Challenge designation under v2.1. To qualify, the building must produce as much energy as it consumes annually, eliminate toxic and harmful chemicals, and collect and treat its own water.

3 Aug 2016

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Announces Public Unveiling of the Frick Environmental Center in Pittsburgh

World-class center for environmental education designed to achieve Living Building Challenge standards

Frick Environmental Center in Pittsburgh

Frick Environmental Center photos: Nic Lehoux

Pittsburgh, PA (August 2, 2016) – The Frick Environmental Center (FEC), the first municipally owned, free and public Living Building Challenge targeted facility, will be unveiled to the public for the first time in a public celebration on Saturday, September 10. Designed by renowned architecture firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ), the building will be a world-class center for environmental education.

Frick Environmental Center in Pittsburgh

A joint venture between the City of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, the FEC will act as a gateway to the 644-acre Frick Park. Designed and engineered to achieve Living Building Challenge and LEED Platinum standards, the building will provide experiential learning to a projected 20,000 K-12 students and hundreds of thousands of people who visit each year.

“The Frick Environmental Center is a world-class green building for a world-class city, and we’re excited for the public to have their first glimpse of this incredible resource for our region,” said Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy founder and CEO Meg Cheever. “The September 10 celebration will give a sampling of the beautiful building and grounds, environmental education programming, and community spirit that the Center will have to offer our city for generations to come.”

The Conservancy now has a home base for its growing environmental education programs, which are offered to students in Pittsburgh’s public schools. Fully equipped classrooms, offices, and support spaces provide the much-needed amenities for the Conservancy’s award-winning programs, while a public ‘living room’ and gallery space welcome park visitors to stop in to learn more about the park’s history and extensive trails, and the sustainability of the building.

Frick Environmental Center in Pittsburgh Frick Environmental Center in Pittsburgh

The design and construction team, led by BCJ and regional construction powerhouse PJ Dick, collaborated with the City and Parks Conservancy throughout the design process, which included extensive community outreach. More than 1,000 community stakeholders provided feedback, helping to define programmatic elements such as the Slavery to Freedom Garden and rain veil art installation. Many of the site’s original features have been restored as well, including historic gatehouses, an alleé, and fountain.

Frick Environmental Center in Pittsburgh

To meet Living Building Challenge and LEED Platinum standards, the FEC will use 35% less energy than baseline structures. The building will achieve net zero energy and water utilizing elements such as ground-source heat pumps, radiant floors, a photovoltaic array, and a reclaimed water system that will provide captured and filtered storm water for irrigation, use in the fountain, and building non-potable use.

Frick Environmental Center in Pittsburgh

To minimize the project’s carbon footprint, all building materials came from within a 1,200-mile radius of the site, and subcontractors and tradespeople were hired in the Allegheny County-Western Pennsylvania region. In choosing the design team, the Conservancy selected BCJ for their design capabilities, as well as their 40-year presence in Pittsburgh; and PJ Dick for their longstanding and highly regarded work in the region.

Frick Environmental Center in Pittsburgh

The FEC will be free and open to the public during park hours. Beginning Spring 2017, the building will also be available for event rental. Living Building Challenge certification is targeted for Spring 2018.

Frick Environmental Center in Pittsburgh images / information from Bohlin Cywinski Jackson architects

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Address: 2005 Beechwood Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15217, United States
Phone: +1 412-422-6538


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