Tree Pittsburgh Headquarters

Tree Pittsburgh Headquarters

Architect
GBBN Architects Inc.
Location
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA | View Map
Project Year
2018
Category
Offices
Brad Feinknopf

Tree Pittsburgh Headquarters

GBBN Architects Inc. as Architects

Dedicated to growing the urban forest, Tree Pittsburgh wanted a sustainable headquarters that gives employees and volunteers easy access to the 100,000 trees they nurture and plant each year.

 

Sited on a former steel millabove the Allegheny River, the simple, open building is comprised of nine double height modules, prefabricated in nearby Clarion, PA. Using prefabricated modules reduces on-site construction waste and creates a tight thermal seal for the building. The modules sit lightly on the land, anchored by foundation piles that compress, rather than displace existing soil.

 

Strategically placed doors and windows capture views and bring in light. A long, linear porch serves as an outdoor space for staff to relax and for guests to gather at an event. Photovoltaic solar panels on the south-facing roof will provide their power, helping Tree Pittsburgh achieve net zero energy.  A 3,000-gallon temperature-controlled water tank provides the campus with its potable water; sensors alert staff when supply is low.

 

Sustainability

The limited access to utilities and contaminated brownfield soil became project drivers for sustainability. A 6” layer of clean fill was added throughout the site and the helical pier foundation system limits soil disturbance. Prefabrication helped limit construction waste and led to a thermally sealed building assembled in a controlled environment.

 

Given the funding streams, the design team balanced building energy use with the photovoltaic array production capacity, size and cost. The roof material, building massing and orientation, and thermal envelope were all carefully designed to maximize impact of the array and minimize energy use. Utilization of natural and renewable materials, triple pane glazing, operable windows, low flow plumbing fixtures, high efficiency lighting, and stormwater capture make it one of the most environmentally responsible buildings in the region.

 

Residential scale building systems act as demonstration tools for visitors. Heating and cooling of partially occupied spaces is provided by on-demand units and all roof rainwater is collected in barrels for irrigation. Supply water through a public utility was not available, so all potable water is delivered to a storage tank that employs a charcoal filter and ultraviolet system to further clean the water. If state regulations change, the system could be adapted to feed the supply water tank with collected rainwater.

 

The impact the project can be felt at an urban scale: a once blighted industrial site is now filled with thousands of trees that improve air quality and a building that educates visitors about sustainable strategies in their homes.

Featured Projects
Latest Products
News
Merk X revitalizes Amsterdam Zoo natural history building that was closed for 75 years
20 May 2022 News
Merk X revitalizes Amsterdam Zoo natural history building that was closed for 75 years

The neoclassical building was built between 1850 and 1855 to a design by Johannes van Maurik as a na... More

82,000 unique, hand-crafted tiles clad the new extension to Museum Arnhem by Benthem Crouwel Architects
20 May 2022 News
82,000 unique, hand-crafted tiles clad the new extension to Museum Arnhem by Benthem Crouwel Architects

In addition to restoring the original Museum Arnhem building, complete with characteristic historic... More

Estudio MMX interweaves open spaces throughout porous pigmented concrete villa
19 May 2022 News
Estudio MMX interweaves open spaces throughout porous pigmented concrete villa

A sequence of open spaces with a gradual degree of intimacy allow residents to move gently from the... More

Baumschlager Eberle Architekten’s Montagne du Parc demonstrates how concepts of sustainability can be implemented at an early stage of architectural completion
19 May 2022 News
Baumschlager Eberle Architekten’s Montagne du Parc demonstrates how concepts of sustainability can be implemented at an early stage of architectural completion

The largest project completed by Baumschlager Eberle Architekten in Europe to date, the new Montagne... More

Find products by looking at inspirational projects
18 May 2022 Inside Archello
Find products by looking at inspirational projects

Archello’s new Inspiration guide is the world’s first and largest reference guide with a... More

Artlist office design celebrates creativity while emphasizing work, efficiency, and collaboration
18 May 2022 News
Artlist office design celebrates creativity while emphasizing work, efficiency, and collaboration

For busy Israel-based technology company Artlist, designers Switchup created an office concept that... More

Experimental Co-Housing Denver project by Productora provides a compelling model for centrally located, low-cost housing
17 May 2022 News
Experimental Co-Housing Denver project by Productora provides a compelling model for centrally located, low-cost housing

Only a few miles from the downtown area of Denver, this experimental co-housing project by Productor... More

Baumschlager Eberle Architecten create an architectural statement for a natural setting in Alpe Furx
17 May 2022 News
Baumschlager Eberle Architecten create an architectural statement for a natural setting in Alpe Furx

On a sloping site in the Austrian ski resort of Alpe Furx, this holiday and leisure development by B... More