Opening to the public today, Feb. 12, 2013, the new Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens has emerged as one of the greenest buildings on Earth, and is the first of its kind anywhere in the Pittsburgh region. Designed and built by Pennsylvania-based talent to achieve or exceed all three of the world’s highest sustainable architecture and landscape standards—Living Building Challenge, LEED® Platinum and Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES) certification—this addition will now serve as an extension of the public garden’s guest experience.
A home-base for Phipps’ environmental education and research programs, as well as a place for visitors to explore, the CSL is a global showcase of innovation. The facility not only produces all of its own renewable energy with solar panels, geothermal wells and a wind turbine, but will also treat and reuse all water captured on site. Additionally, the CSL is surrounded by a restorative landscape highlighting native plants and a green rooftop garden with a view of Oakland. Other features include a lagoon, rain gardens and constructed wetlands that guests will be able to observe in action.
Inside of the CSL, interpretive signage and an interactive kiosk will greet visitors and guide their investigation of the facility’s inner-workings; a Green Gallery on the first floor offers changing photography and art exhibits; and a state-of-the art classroom will soon house many of Phipps’ programs for children focused on topics like ecology and healthy living. Starting in the spring, visitors will also be invited to explore the outdoor environs, which include meandering paths, a boardwalk, a hillside amphitheater, a serene fountain, thriving wildlife habitat and scenic panoramas of Panther Hollow.
“The CSL was created to act as a model for how we can all work together with nature to make our communities healthier, safer and more supportive of life,” says Phipps Executive Director Richard V. Piacentini. “It will also give our guests the opportunity to see just how beautiful and practical green can be, and we are very excited to share this inspiring new space with Pittsburghers in the days to come.”
Self-guided tours of the CSL are included in the price of Phipps admission, which is $15 for adults, $14 for seniors (62+) and students with valid IDs; and $11 for children two-18. Kids under two and Phipps members enter for free. Pre-arranged group tours of the facility are also available for an additional $2 per person. Required reservations can be made by calling 412/622-6915, ext. 6501. A 10-percent discount is available for groups of 15 or more. For more details about the CSL, visit phippscsl.org.
Link to TEQ magazine article featuring the CSL: www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ptc/teq_2012spring
About Phipps: Built in 1893, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pa. is a green leader among public gardens with a mission to inspire and educate all with the beauty and importance of plants; to advance sustainability and promote human and environmental well-being through action and research; and to celebrate its historic glasshouse. Learn more: phipps.conservatory.org.