Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly Garden and Glass

The Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibition features permanent displays of key works of art by Dale Chihuly over his career. The project was built on the site of the former Fun Forest a small, older amusement park at Seattle Center. The facility features a 12,200-square-foot pavilion with gallery spaces, a cafe, a 50-seat theater, lobby and bookstore and a 4,500-square-foot Glasshouse featuring a suspended sculpture made of 2,000 pieces of red and yellow glass. A view through the Glasshouse art pieces shows the Space Needle hovering above the facility. The garden features additional examples of Chihuly’s world-wide work in large temporary outdoor and garden glassworks.

Underlying the celebration of art are sustainable features like green roofs and energy efficient systems, as well as healthy, recycled, and locally produced materials. Other major green features include conversion of an acre of asphalt paving into lush gardens and reusing almost 100% of the existing Fun Forest exterior walls, roof and floors into the interior exhibition spaces, café, and gift shop. Adapting rather than demolishing the old building not only kept tons of materials out of the landfill, it also saved the energy and water used to manufacture new materials and construct a new building. Overall, 97% of all the waste from construction of this project was diverted from the landfill, about 250 tons.

The Glasshouse is conceived as an indoor-outdoor space that is not fully heated or cooled in a conventional way, using natural systems to efficiently moderate temperatures while allowing the indoor temperatures to fluctuate along with outdoor conditions. Using high-efficiency boilers and chillers and other energy efficiency strategies, the rest of the building exceeds local energy code requirements. The restrooms feature low-flow fixtures that reduce water use by more than 30% over standard fixtures, saving an estimated 160,000 gallons of water per year in this building alone. The project is targeting earning LEED Silver certification by early fall and will feature interpretive signage related to green building features and offer green building tours.

O’Brien & Company was hired to work directly with the architect to identify additional strategies to qualify for LEED credits and assure LEED compliance. We conducted a design development phase review of LEED status, reviewed the specifications, provided guidance on materials tracking and reviewed both the design and construction phase submittals. We assisted the owner’s group and development manager in a variety of green operations credits and are designing the green building educational signage and tour program in partnership with the architect.

Owner: Center Art, LLC
Development Manager: Seneca Group
Architect: Owen Richards Architects (client)
General Contractor: Schuchart Corporation
O’Brien & Company’s role: LEED Quality Assurance and Technical Assistance to the architect, development manager, and owner’s group.