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Transforming a Legacy Campaign ~ Lloyd Center’s New Welcome Center

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New Bedford architect Kathryn Duff, founder and director of studio2sustain, inc. in New Bedford, Massachusetts, presented a set of innovative and environmentally rigorous building plans for the Lloyd Center for the Environment’s  proposed Welcome Center at Architecture Boston Expo (ABX 2015) in November. The plans are the blueprint for the Lloyd Center’s Welcome Center, part of the focus of the ‘Transforming a Legacy’ three million dollar capital campaign.

The Lloyd Center announced the ‘Transforming a Legacy’ campaign in May 2015 and, to date, have raised over half of the funds through donations and pledges. As Vice Chair of the Lloyd Center’s Board of Directors, Ms. Duff has been involved in the project since the beginning, having first introduced the Lloyd Center Board to the Living Building Challenge (LBC) sustainability certification program in 2014. Her architectural experience and vision of a sustainable future has been essential to the genesis and planning of this important endeavor.

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While providing a much needed bus drop-off center, visitor restrooms and gathering space, the Welcome Center project and building will serve as an educational tool itself. The building is being designed to the LBC sustainability standard – a program of the International Living Future Institute. LBC represents the most environmentally rigorous certification and is awarded for buildings that perform over a period of twelve consecutive months after completion. This LBC sustainability certification program, Living Building Challenge 3.0, forwards a holistic approach to sustainability by accounting for traditional ‘green’ imperatives such energy use and ecological impact while also prioritizing community engagement and aesthetic considerations. The Welcome Center will be constructed to meet these rigorous standards, benefiting the greater community and further establishing the Lloyd Center as a leader in environmental education and sustainability leadership.

The requirements of the Living Building Challenge 3.0 are organized into seven ‘petals’ of requirements: place, water, energy, health & happiness, materials, equity, and beauty. The building will treat and reclaim its own water, generate its own energy, and use the natural topography of the site for storm management. This building goes beyond not harming the environment, it has a positive impact. The LBC program is about building a building that is restorative. In short, it will be among the greenest buildings in the world and will serve as a model for future sustainability projects.

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To meet its water needs, the building will make use of a grey-water collection system and on-site grey-water treatment garden. Uniting utility, sustainability, and beauty, a proposed “hand washing” fountain in the middle of the space will allow children to wash their hands following the many hands-on field-exploration programs provided by the Lloyd Center. To the south of the building, the grey water will be discharged and treated in a grey-water cleaning/treatment garden-system. To facilitate discussion and educational programing, the water-collection system exiting the building will be exposed and incorporated into environmental lessons. Additionally, the handicap-accessible sloping grey-water garden will show students and visitors how the water is naturally and environmentally cleaned and recycled.

The artful beauty of the building will extend beyond just the hand-washing/grey-water fountain. studio2sustain innovatively uses red cedar trim boards in varying patterns along the roof edges  to mimic the articulating edges of falling leaves from the forest canopy. studio2sustain carried other reminders of the forest floor into the building’s interior including doors, wood panels and trim boards. Decorative elements, such as window trim, wood partitions and wall panels, will be made from reclaimed wood harvested from the site. Felled trees will be used for benches and doors and the concrete floor will be imprinted with forest floor elements such as leaves, twigs and creature prints.  In addition, the Lloyd Center plans to incorporate audible exhibits that capture the dawn and dusks sounds of the property. Standing inside this Welcome Center, Ms. Duff says, visitors will experience the environment that inspired and sourced the building.

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The Lloyd Center for the Environment Welcome Center’s construction will benefit the local regional economy by using products from the local area that have been carefully vetted according to the ILFI’s sustainable materials standards and sourcing requirements . The materials used in the Welcome Center will be stored in a database and incorporated into a display within the building itself. By constructing our Welcome Center to the standards set by the Living Building Challenge, the Lloyd Center has opened new opportunities for the greater Dartmouth community to engage with the Lloyd Center, to learn about the environment, to share best practices and lessons learned with a global community, and to participate in the environmentally rigorous architecture of the future – living buildings. The structures on our property, once just the containers for our environmental initiatives will now, thanks to studio2sustain, Lloyd Center staff and Board members, and the many donors that are making this project possible, will be innovative structures that contribute to the natural world, to the community, and to our educational programs.

Click here to learn more about the International Living Future Institute’s Living Building Challenge.

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