Museum of Northern Arizona's Easton Collection Center wins national green building award

Photo/Will Viktora 
Museum of Northern Arizona's Easton Collection Center, 2009.

Photo/Will Viktora Museum of Northern Arizona's Easton Collection Center, 2009.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - McGraw-Hill Construction in New York announced the winners of its second annual Best of the Best Awards on Nov. 5. The Best of the Best Awards is a national competition that recognizes design and construction excellence based on the winners of McGraw-Hill Construction's 10 regional publications' Best of 2009 Awards.

Among the winners was the Museum of Northern Arizona's Easton Collection Center, which took home the top national award in the Green Building category, making it the Greenest Building of 2009, and further solidifying Flagstaff as a leader in the Green Building movement. The Easton Collection Center also won the regional Southwest Contractor award, which made it eligible for the national award.

Projects were judged on innovation, safety, contribution to the community, aesthetic quality, and craftsmanship. Winners will be profiled in the Jan. 4 issue of Engineering News-Record.

"Aesthetically pleasing and technically challenging, this year's Best of the Best award winners illustrate the finest achievements of 2009 in design and construction," said Editor-in-Chief Janice L. Tuchman.

Museum Director Robert Breunig stated, "The Museum of Northern Arizona built the Easton Collection Center to provide the best possible environment for the long-term care for the museum's incomparable collections. From the beginning of the project, the museum, the architect, the donors Elizabeth (Betsy) and Harry Easton, and Kinney Construction Services were not only committed to building a functional and beautiful building, but also a building that exemplified the highest standards of sustainability. We are thrilled that we have been recognized on a national level. This building should be an incredible source of pride for the entire Flagstaff community."

The project team consisted of architectural firm Roberts-Jones and Associates, Inc. and Flagstaff-based Kinney Construction Services, Inc. serving as the Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR). The team's approach to sustainable design was both holistic and practical and is entirely in keeping with the protective preservation function of this new facility. The result is a resounding success. The 17,282 square-foot Easton Collection Center is a truly sustainable repository for the thousands of objects that comprise the anthropological, biological, and fine art collections of the Museum of Northern Arizona.

"The design of the Easton Collection Center has been a very rewarding process of discovery for all of us involved in the creative process," said Jim Roberts, Principal of Roberts-Jones and Associates, Inc.

"Our reward comes when we see how our search for sustainability, functionality, and historical relevance converge to yield solutions that are both surprising and delightful. The visual and symbolic beauty that we discover when we strive for these abstract goals reassures us of the validity of our decision making."

The Easton Collection Center is on target to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum Certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). Highlighted green building strategies included use of local materials and labor; appropriate solar orientation; high thermal mass inside the thermal envelope; energy efficient heating and cooling systems; energy efficient window systems; extensive green living roof system; water conserving plumbing systems; day-lighting; renewable energy; a high level of construction waste recycling, among several additional sustainable design and construction elements.

KCS President Tim Kinney stated, "We at KCS are extremely proud to be the builders of the Easton Collection Center and feel very fortunate to be given the opportunity to work with the Museum and Roberts|Jones and Associates."

The Easton Collection Center will be showcased with a guided tour during Flagstaff's Greenbuild weekend on Saturday, Nov. 14.

Visit www.usgbcaz.org/northern/greenstreets for more information.

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