Baltimore, MD - Grant Architects PC has received the AIA Baltimore 2007 Grand Design Award for the firm's visionary design for the Institute for Scientific Research (ISR) located in Fairmont, West Virginia.
"The challenge was to design a building that mirrors the cutting edge scientific research programs being performed at this facility," explains Principal Jon Grant, AIA, NCARB. "A refined machine for the development of new aerospace technologies located in a place where exposure to raw nature is unavoidable, the design for ISR incorporates both earthbound solidity and the flights of human aspiration. The building is a metaphor for the complex interaction of these seemingly rival elements."
PHOTO: STANLEY CAPPS, ARCHITECTURAL IMAGE GROUP
The choice was made not to drastically alter the site, but to work with the natural elements there to create a structure that is connected to the land on which it rests. The building is designed to connect to the slope of the mountain thus access to the structure minimizes total earth disturbance.
The building was designed to achieve LEED certification and includes environmental features such as reflective roofing that was installed over the majority of the building, and a green roof over the parking deck that helps reduce water runoff that might otherwise potentially harm nearby streams and estuaries. The building is linear and placed with an east-west orientation. This enables efficient control of solar radiation, in conjunction with integral shading devices. The planted plaza and sitting of the parking structure upon a platform cut from the mountaintop (with the reflective primary roof) also aid in virtually eliminating any heat island effect.
"This strong and well-developed parti supports the solid design concept," noted AIA Baltimore President William A. L. Gaudreau. "The very large program for this huge research center is well-designed, clean-cut, and beautifully executed...This building sits elegantly on the landscape. The human and natural connection is carried through strongly. This exemplifies 21st century design."
The $124 million project has the capacity to house 500 researchers and support staff and will serve as a catalyst for reinvigorating the area's economy with new high-tech job opportunities.