SmithGroup Wins Two Awards for Excellence in Sustainability from the American Planning Association

SmithGroup, one of the nation’s largest architecture and engineering firms, has won two 2015 Awards for Excellence in Sustainability from the American Planning Association (APA). 

The winning SmithGroup projects are Scotts Run Station South Master Plan, honored with the Sustainable Urban Design Award; and Brock Environmental Center, winner of the Sustainable Building Project Award. 

The APA’s Awards for Excellence in Sustainability honors those projects, policies, plans and people that show exemplary scholarship, leadership and inspiration in sustainability planning and implementation. They represent a diverse range of experiences and industries while possessing a shared attribute: a passion for sustainability and its rewards for our future. The award represents the joining of three APA divisions: International, Urban Design and Preservation, and Sustainable Communities.  

SmithGroup Co-director of Sustainability Russell Perry, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, said, “Scotts Run sets a new standard for the sustainable redevelopment of the suburbs around new transit infrastructure. Similarly, the Brock Center is an exemplar of the highest level of sustainability, designed to achieve an extraordinary ‘triple net-zero’ for energy, water and waste. We are gratified that the APA has recognized the high quality of our design and planning work and the vision of our clients.”

Scotts Run Station South Master Plan, Tysons Corner, Virginia, represents the vision for transforming an aging, disconnected, 40-acre suburban office park in the “edge city” of Tysons Corner. The new Silver Metrorail McLean Station is bringing new transit-oriented economic development opportunities to a number of suburban municipalities and with it an increased quality of life allowing people to live, work, shop, play and learn while relying on fewer automobile trips. The 8.5 million square-foot-master plan creates a vibrant sustainable, livable, walkable, connected, mixed-use transit-oriented community for Tysons Corner with a new walkable, pedestrian scaled grid of streets; a mix of uses including retail and restaurants along Station Street, a new “main street”; and sustainable design features in every aspect of the plan. The plan restores and revitalizes a significant portion of the existing Scotts Run stream valley park to provide passive and active recreational experiences and connection to nature. Buildings will be designed for energy efficiency and minimum LEED Silver certification while integrated sustainable site and stormwater strategies are implemented in the buildings and streetscape.

The Brock Environmental Center, completed in late 2014 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, serves as the hub for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Hampton Road office and supports its education, outreach, advocacy and restoration initiatives for what is one of the nation’s most valuable and threatened natural resources – the Chesapeake Bay. Completion of the Center concluded a successful community effort to save Virginia Beach’s 118-acre Pleasure House Point tract from development. As recently as 2008, developers intended to build more than 1,100 new high-rise condos and townhouses on the property. A community partnership of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the City of Virginia Beach, and the Trust for Public Land purchased the land from the bank in 2012, preserving it for open space and environmental education. SmithGroup was commissioned to design the building to use very little energy, and did so by incorporating a series of aggressive, energy-saving features such as natural ventilation, natural daylighting and sunshading, highly efficient geo-thermal heating and cooling, and super insulation. In July 2015, the Brock Environmental Center earned LEED Platinum designation and is currently on track to meet the strict standards of the Living Building Challenge. To date, the Brock Center has produced nearly twice as much energy as it has consumed through on-site photovoltaics and wind turbines. It is the first commercial building in the continental U.S. with a permit through the federal regulations to collect and drink rainwater.

The American Planning Association (APA), “Making Great Communities Happen,” is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. Members of APA help create communities of lasting value and encourage civic leaders, business interests, and citizens to play a meaningful role in creating communities that enrich people's lives. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, with almost 40,000 members worldwide in nearly 100 countries.

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