Studzinski Recital Hall

Sustainability Report

August 23, 2007

During the design of Studzinski Recital Hall, the design team and Construction Manager collaborated with the College to plan a building that met the College’s standards for sustainable design (as outlined on Bowdoin’s “Building Design Standards for Renovation Projects” published Sept 2005, as the team was finishing Design Development).

The transformation of the Curtis Pool building into Studzinski Recital Hall preserved an important campus landmark and enhances the core of Bowdoin’s campus. Key aspects of the approach to sustainable design include:

  1. A re-use of the existing building with a new building type that is ideally suited to its open span interior and heavy masonry walls.
  2. Reinvention of Hyde Plaza into a landscaped quad, increasing the green space of campus and enhancing the cohesiveness of the campus landscape fabric.
  3. Advanced mechanical systems designed for energy conservation and acoustical excellence. A geothermal system provides a renewable source of heating and cooling and eliminates the need for a noisy chiller and cooling tower.
  4. Interior storm windows with high performance insulating glass enhance the thermal performance of the existing exterior shell.
  5. Abundant natural light is provided into all major spaces, including the Recital Hall. Special detailing (3/4” thick laminated glass installed on an angle) is employed to allow this natural light while preserving the acoustical isolation of the Hall.

Perhaps the most obvious element in this strategy was the employment of a renewable energy source for heating and cooling. A geothermal well system uses deep wells to harness the heat energy in the ground. During the heating season, this heat energy is pumped from the ground through heat pumps in the building to provide heat. In the summertime, the process is reversed and the heat from the building is transferred into the ground. This system saves energy compared with conventional heating and air conditioning systems and reduces the combustion of fossil fuels.<.p>

Also significant was the College’s decision to reuse the existing McKim, Mead, and White natatorium (Curtis Pool). Not only did this ensure a location for the Recital Hall at the heart of the campus, but it brought new life to a long vacant structure. Importantly, this preserved not just a historic building but it maintained Bowdoin’s extraordinary heritage of McKim, Mead and White buildings.

The Curtis Pool building was a natural fit for the Recital Hall with wide spans and massive exterior walls (which generate the appropriate low frequency bass responsiveness important for the acoustical success of the project). Preserving these massive walls and roof structure kept these elements out of a landfill and meant additional resources and cost did not have to be spent building new exterior walls, windows and roof structure.

1. Site Design and Planning
A reduction in the amount of impervious surface: By preserving the existing building and focusing all new work to an existing paved courtyard between Curtis Pool and Sargent Gym, the development footprint did not extend beyond what had previously existed. In fact, due to the greening of Hyde Plaza as part of this project and the creation of a sloping amphitheatre at the rear of the project, the amount of impervious surface was actually reduced.

New green space unites the campus landscape at a reinvented Hyde Plaza: The redevelopment of Hyde Plaza replaced an existing stepped concrete plaza with an open grass quadrangle, essentially extending the surface treatment of the Main Quadrangle to the front door of the Recital Hall. This new landscape dramatically reclaims this area as green space (Reducing heat island effects with reduction of pavement) in the character of the existing campus.

Sensitive selection of plant material:Native Plants were used throughout the new landscape (an exception was crabapple which was used to blend this area with the surrounding campus). Invasive shrubs were removed from the site.

Central location makes use of existing infrastructure: The central location offered by the Curtis Pool structure capitalizes on existing campus infrastructure. The main steam line runs in fact through the building and is planned as a back-up heat source for the geothermal system. Other campus utilities were similarly located in close proximity to the building.

Mechanical equipment shielded from noise and view: The mechanical equipment is mostly kept internal to the building, with a few pieces of equipment located on the roof of the “link” between Curtis Pool and Sargent Gym (the area of the existing courtyard). This isolates the mechanical equipment visually and acoustically from surrounding campus open spaces.

2. Energy Use
New insulating glass storm windows enhance the thermal performance of existing walls: The majority of the exterior wall consists of the existing brick walls of Curtis Pool. The existing single pane windows were augmented by an interior storm system consisting of high performance insulating glass units.

High performance curtain-wall introduces abundant natural light while controlling heat gain: A large expanse of curtain-wall opens a new Practice Room Lobby to views of the Chapel and Hyde Plaza. This curtain-wall uses insulating glass and a low e coating to minimize heat gain. Additionally, during construction an additional clear film was installed on the inside of the curtain-wall (to block UV light to protect artwork which will hang in this area). Practice rooms in this area have side lights in the door to borrow light from this lobby area.

Natural light: All major spaces feature natural light, including the Recital Hall. In this space, special sloped laminated insulating glass units were installed. This special detail has helped overcome an industry-wide challenge of introducing natural light without compromising the acoustical properties of the room or acoustical isolation to the exterior. The incorporation of natural light enhances the experience of the room and allows the house lights to be turned off when not required during the day.

High performance and flexible artificial lighting: The lighting system incorporates sophisticated dimming controls and high efficiency fixtures to conserve energy when in operation and to allow maximum user control so lights can be turned down or off when sufficient daylight exists.

A state of the art mechanical system:Due to the acoustical demands on this building, the mechanical system employs large ducts supplying air at very low velocities. While this takes space it helps to reduce the amount of energy needed to transport air. The following high performance systems are in place to reduce energy consumption:

  1. As previously mentioned, the College decided to employ a geothermal system as the principal heating and cooling source for the building.
  2. The supply of air in the Recital Hall employs a displacement system where air is supplied under each seat via a large plenum space under the Hall. Because cool air stays near the ground plane, in a tall space this approach saves energy as only the part of the space that is inhabited by people needs to be conditioned.
  3. A connection to the campus steam line that runs through the building provides a back-up heat source.
  4. Dedicated HVAC units allow separate zoning of the Recital Hall, Rehearsal Room and Practice rooms.
  5. Occupancy sensors and variable air volume distribution systems allow modulation of temperatures and user control throughout the building.
  6. All HVAC equipment is CFC and HCFC free.
  7. Equipment is high efficiency and employs variable speed drives for fans and pumps.
  8. Appliances and equipment meets Energy Star criteria.
  9. The space will be efficiently managed using Bowdoin’s Energy Modeling System (EMS).
  10. The building was fully commissioned to optimize energy efficiency.

3. Water Management
Management of site water: The selection of drought tolerant plant species limits the water needed for irrigation. The reduction in the area of impervious surface (uncommon on a new building project) helps keep storm water on-site and out of the campus and city storm system. It also helps recharge ground water on the site (which ultimately maintains the source of the geothermal system).

During construction, measures were in place to control erosion and the intrusion of sediment into the storm system.

Conservation of water within the building:This building type is not particularly water intensive, as the only spaces in the building using water are the public toilet rooms. Nonetheless, in these areas sensor operated and water conserving fixtures are in place to reduce water consumption.

4. Materials, Resources and Waste
Re-use of the existing structure:As previously mentioned, the decision to reuse the existing building meant a significant savings on demolition as well as materials which would have been required to build a new structure and enclosing walls.

Selection of materials:Within the new building, materials were selected with an eye toward local production, inclusion of recycled content, and the ability for future recycling should the building need to be adapted again to another purpose. This approach extends to nearly every visible surface within the Recital Hall:

The most pervasive material in the Hall is the warm natural birch woodwork (including the wall paneling, the curved acoustical cloud, solid horizontal railings and wood grilles which conceal adjustable acoustical elements). This material is harvested locally within the US (within 500 miles) from a renewable source.

The brass mesh cladding the pylons includes approximately 20% recycled content, and is fully recyclable in the future. Perforated aluminum ceilings within the Hall are likewise composed of approximately 18% recycled content and in the future are fully recyclable.

Management of construction waste: During construction, significant quantities of the material removed during demolition were recycled.Concrete and masonry removed was crushed for re-use as aggregate. Steel and other metals removed from the existing building were sent for recycling. Construction waste was separated into mixed trash and burnable trash containers. The burnable trash was sent to a facility where it contributed to power generation. A special crushed stone entrance to the site helped keep the dirt and mud from trucks leaving the site from tracking onto campus roadways.

5. Indoor Environment Quality

The Recital Hall was designed to maximize user comfort through a strategy including abundant natural light, flexible controls of mechanical systems and lighting, and advanced systems for mechanical ventilation.

Spaces filled with natural light:As previously mentioned; all major spaces in the building are filled with natural light and views to the exterior.

Advanced mechanical ventilation:While the acoustical imperatives of this building made operable windows impractical, the design employs a mechanical ventilation system with air flow measurement to control the outside air ventilation based on the occupancy level.

High performance artificial lighting:Lighting can be controlled by the users and dimmed to a wide variety of light effects and light levels. Lights can be turned down when ample daylight exists.

Control of VOC levels, dust, and cleaning chemicals:

  1. The majority of all interior paints and coatings contained low VOC levels.
  2. The carpet used for the project used adhesives that met the VOC limits of South Coast Air Quality Management district rule #1168 and CRI Green Label.
  3. Permanent entryway systems (entry mats) to capture dirt and particles are installed in all entries to the building.
  4. Chemical use areas (i.e. janitor closets) have been physically separated with deck to deck partitions. Independent exhaust ventilation has been installed in these rooms. In those spaces were water and chemical concentrate mixing occurs, drains are plumbed for environmentally appropriate disposal of liquid waste.