Chicago-based Woodhouse Tinucci Architects (WTA) takes a classically authentic approach. As well as a responsible approach to architecture. Their philosophy on sustainable design isn’t your typical eco-friendly formula.
Because for WTA, sustainability is about creating buildings. All to last several lifetimes by using natural materials with proven track records of longevity. As well as applying decades of expertise in architecture. In addition to space planning. All via thoroughly studied best practices on durability.
Two projects in Illinois that capture WTA’s approach to sustainable architecture. That’s the Morton Arboretum Vistior Center. Also the DuSable Harbor Building for the Chicago Park District.
The Morton Arboretum Visitor Center features natural materials. That’s including woods represented in the Arboretum’s collections. As well as gently weathering lead-coated copper, and local fieldstone salvaged from a predecessor building. A low-slung restaurant pavilion expands toward the lake through a 140ft-long sheath. That’s floor-to-ceiling frameless glass. All wrapped around the building to offer a panoramic view into the natural world.
So structured and meticulously designed to showcase the varied views of the Aboretum’s horticultural collections. Now the Visitor Center elicits an “inside-out/outside-in” sensation. That’s of being outside and in nature.
Completed over ten years ago, the Visitor Center appears merely months old. One speaking to WTA’s uncanny ability to create buildings. All that are long lasting and truly sustainable.
WTA goes big
Another prime example of WTA’s tactful approach to sustainable architecture is the new LEED Gold Certified harbor building between Lake Shore Drive and DuSable Harbor on Chicago’s urban lakefront. Designed with flexibility and durability in mind, the Harbor building offers food concession, park restrooms, a harbor office, retail store and boaters’ locker rooms and is built for year-round use.
The surrounding park’s lawn folds up and over the building’s top. All to make a roof that’s really “green”. As well as it insures not a single square foot of precious lakeside parkland is lost.
From the park, the building completely disappears. One as a gently ramped hillside that slopes up to make a grassy viewing platform. All for enjoying the boats and fireworks displays on the lake. Yellow-painted panels of corrugated perforated metal glide open. That’s on stainless steel tracks or flip up like awnings in the summer to reveal the building’s amenities. Also it’s then close to protect them when the boating season is over.