Topped by a 3.1-acre green roof, the new Visitor Centre and Museum at the entrance to the Gateway Arch National Park in St Louis, USA, has just been awarded LEED Gold certification.
Praised for its use of sustainable materials and energy-saving features, the recently renovated Visitor Center and Museum at the Gateway Arch is currently one of only eleven LEED-certified National Park Service sites.
The newly expanded development is the work of Cooper Robertson and James Carpenter Design Associates, in collaboration with Trivers Associates, and marks the centrepiece for the renewal of the 91-acre Gateway Arch National Park. The updated 150,000-square-foot building is tucked almost entirely underground, generously showcasing the 3.1-acre green roof.
Opened to the public in 2018, the visitor centre and museum is designed to maximise park space and provide improved visitor amenities, without drawing attention away from Eero Saarinen’s iconic arch structure.
By tucking the building underground beneath a vegetated roof, the architects’ design not only preserved unobstructed sight lines to the Gateway Arch, it also helped reduce the heat island effect and maximise open space.
Energy cost savings for the project are estimated to be 24 percent below the baseline, while the overall project’s potable water usage is estimated to have been reduced by over 31 percent thanks to low-flow water features.
“The National Park service has ambitious sustainability goals that the design team embraced enthusiastically,” explains Scott Newman FAIA, director of Cooper Robertson.
“In addition to a 3.1-acre extensive green roof, the building features further sustainable and resilient design components such as LED lighting, high-efficiency HVAC systems, and close connections to local public transportation networks. These features bring a high level of efficiency that matches the National Park Service’s ambition. The LEED Gold certification recognises that commitment and design innovation.”
Other factors that contributed to the project’s LEED Gold certification include the use of regionally extracted and manufactured (within 500 miles) construction materials that were selected based on their recycled content; low-emitting materials were chosen for the interior. Over 80 percent of the construction waste generated was diverted from landfills. Multiple recycling collection points and storage areas are located throughout the building. Water cisterns collect and recycle stormwater onsite.
Images Gateway Arch Park Foundation via Inhabitat