Lessons from a Living Building: The Brock Environmental Center

Designed by SmithGroup, the project for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation has exceeded its performance expectations, but not without hiccups along the way.

Returning to a project site long after the occupants have moved in remains the exception rather than the rule for architects. But SmithGroup vice president Greg Mella, FAIA, continues to be a regular face at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF’s) Brock Environmental Center following the project's opening on April 1, 2015, and with good reason. The educational building, in Virginia Beach, Va., was pursuing certification as a Living Building by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), which requires projects to demonstrate that they are performing as intended for a minimum of 12 months of continuous occupancy.

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