DesignLAB‘s recently completed headquarters for the International Fund for Animal Welfare goes far beyond integrating into its environment to actually ameliorate a contaminated brownfield site, infusing it with renewed life. A stunning example of modern architecture, the 54,000 square foot structure is situated in Yarmouthport, Massachusetts and showcases an exceptional roster of sustainable building strategies that have earned it a LEED gold rating.
It’s rare for a structure to integrate into its environment so well that it actually enhances the natural diversity of its site. DesignLAB created its IFAW office “to facilitate open communication, collaboration and interaction, while promoting the IFAW’s global mission ‘to provide a better world for people and animals”. A beautiful example of site-conscious architecture, no office could be more fitting for an organization so dedicated to environmental issues.
The office’s site was once a polluted brownfield devoid of diversity, so part of DesignLAB‘s plan included an extended effort to reclaim this land and revitalize it as a natural habitat. To do this they reconditioned the site to remove contaminants and planted an assortment of native shrubs, trees, and grasses. They also installed bio swales, rain gardens, and other permeable landscaping systems to absorb rainwater runoff.
The structure itself employs an excellent assortment of building strategies that are both energy efficient and sustainable. The IFAW office is constructed from FSC certified wood and features the extensive use of recycled materials (more than 30% of its structural steel is recycled from post-consumer waste). It’s high-performance glass curtain contributes a passive solar profile, suffusing the interiors with daylight while minimizing its need for heating and cooling. The structure conserves water via dual flush toilets and low-flow faucets, and a cutting edge on-site septic system treats all waste-water produced in the building.