Centerbrook Project Wins International Award

CENTERBROOK, Conn. -- Centerbrook has received a 2014 American Architecture Award for its design of the Biomass Central Heating Facility at the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut. Given out jointly by the Chicago Athenaeum’s Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre based in Greece and Ireland, the award honors “new and cutting edge design.” Partner Jefferson B. Riley, FAIA, led a Centerbrook design team that included Alan Paradis, Mark Herter, Peter Cornell, and Erik Lübeck.

Viewed from the school’s main campus, down a hill and across a golf course, the low and undulating building features a green roof that mimics the surrounding landscape in both form and color. The design meets two seemingly contradictory goals: creating an iconic presence for this seminal building while also having it merge into its natural setting, as befits its sustainable mission.

Key to the school pledge to become a carbon neutral campus by 2020, the building houses two furnaces that burn local, sustainably harvested woodchips to heat the entire boarding school (1.2 million square feet in 85 buildings) and its more than 600 residents. In addition to lowering emissions dramatically, the plant saved the school nearly $800,000 in fuel costs in its first year of operation.

The facility will be featured with other award winners in a special exhibit to be displayed at the Design Biennale in Istanbul, Turkey in November. The exhibit will travel to Athens, Greece and finally to the Chicago Architecture Biennial in the fall of 2015. Other winners include the Tsing Tao Pearl Visitor Center in China, the Microsoft Cybercrime Center in Redmond, Washington, and the Campbell Sports Center at Columbia University.

Founded in 1891, Hotchkiss is an independent high school for students from across the United States and 34 foreign countries.