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Students Shout Out for the Living Building Challenge and the Bertschi School’s New Science Wing

2011-02-11 14.33.27 Imagine over 230 elementary schoolers standing on a public street chanting, "Liv-ing Build-ing! Liv-ing Build-ing! Liv-ing Build-ing!" That's what happened last week when the Bertschi School opened its new Science Wing, on track to be the first certified Living Building in Washington State. In addition to the students' cheerleading, the ribbon cutting included remarks from Seattle City Council President Richard Conlin, Governor's Chief of Staff Jay Manning, local gardening celebrity Ciscoe Morris, and Head of School Brigitte Bertschi. According to Ms. Bertschi, the students have been counting the days and hours until they could move into the science wing." Hence the shout out.

Bertschi Science Wing Exterior_release In addition to its laudable achievement as a Living Building project, the Science Wing is an outstanding exemplar of design collaboration and commitment, so appropriate for sustainable building projects. The project is a result of a unique partnership between Bertschi School and the Restorative Design Collective, a multi-disciplinary team that contributed design services pro-bono to further the Living Building Challenge (LBC) in the Northwest while gaining hands-on experience with the LBC. The Collective donated more than $500,000 in professional time and building materials. Led by KMD (the project architect), the Collective 's members also include SKANSKA (the general contractor), GGLO, 2020 Engineering, GeoEngineers, Quantum Consulting Engineers, O'Brien & Company, Rushing, Back to Nature Design LLC, and Parsons Public Relations. The City of Seattle and King County provided support as well.

2011-02-11 14.56.39 The facility was designed and constructed to meet the requirements of version 2.0 of the Living Building Challenge. Under the system, the building must perform as modeled for one full year of occupancy before receiving its certification as "living." James Jenkins, Senior Project Associate at O'Brien & Company (shown in the photo at left) acted as the sustainability consultant on the project. His role going forward will be to put systems in place for monitoring and documenting building performance. Stay tuned.

Building Capacity Blog is a publication of O'Brien & Company, focused on highlighting problems, solutions, and lessons learned transferable to problems our colleagues face when developing sustainable buildings, developments, and communities.  Articles rotate between interviews with clients or other respected practitioners, "Ask the Expert" responses contributed by O'Brien & Company staff or guest experts, or inspiring news items. Don't hesitate to comment on articles or to submit your technical questions.

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One Response to “Students Shout Out for the Living Building Challenge and the Bertschi School’s New Science Wing”

  1. Robert Haverlock

    Its hard to imagine a school in the middle of the concrete jungle(Seattle)with a chain link fence around its play court could be such a refreshing educational experience for those kids who have the opportunity to attend there.
    I felt as if I was in the Bronx, except for all the greenery, the solar, the stream running through the building, the cisterns,etc… the future looks bright for the children to learn about this earth through live interations and displays, something we never recieved in our young educational experiences.
    Thank you for this!

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