Greening of Centerbrook Goes 3D

Published on March 4th, 2010

Visitors to Centerbrook Architects’ website can now take a virtual 3-D tour of the firm’s sustainable offices to explore various green-energy features, such as its hydropower generator and geothermal pump. While surveying the Centerbrook campus from above and then zooming in on a basement turbine or rooftop solar panels, browsers also immerse themselves in the latest technology used in building design.

Located in a renovated factory complex along the Falls River in Connecticut, the firm has been practicing sustainable architecture since 1975 and generates 40 percent of its power from on-site renewable systems.

“We’ve combined interactive technology with Revit modeling software to communicate who we are and what we value in a compelling and easy-to-access format,” said Chad Floyd, one of Centerbrook’s partners. “It’s the next best thing to visiting our campus and seeing in person how 21st century architecture is carried out in our restored 19th century home.”

By clicking on “Hydropower,” the virtual tourist swoops down and circles the main building, flies down river, and banks sharply into the sluiceway, finally zooming inside to where the water is cascading through the turbine. Buckle your seatbelt.

In a companion tour of our office facilities, a click opens the door to the Model Shop and introduces master craftsman Patrick McCauley. Another whisks the visitor up to the Q-Lab, a room featuring giant multi-mode, high-resolution computer screens used to review architectural plans. Looking down on the firm’s offices, web visitors can survey the dam site that has been generating power since 1689 and click on more than a dozen menu offerings, as well as a brief history and photographs of this historic commercial site.

Centerbrook’s hydropower plant has been operating since 1982. Two large arrays of solar panels were installed in 2006, and the geothermal system was set up in 2008. Founded in 1975, Centerbrook pioneered green architecture from the start, designing more than 50 projects with sustainable features. Five Centerbrook buildings have been LEED-certified, one platinum, and five more are slated for certification. In 1998 Centerbrook received the national AIA Firm Award, the highest honor that the American Institute of Architects confers on a firm.