April was a big month for Eden Hall Campus in terms of external recognition: The Anne Mallinson ’61 Café and field lab were granted official LEED Platinum ratings, and the campus was recognized nationwide with a 2018 Education Facility Design Award of Excellence from the American Institute of Architects. We spoke with president David Goldberg and principal Sandy Mendler of Mithūn, the architecture firm behind Eden Hall’s transformation.
The Anne Mallinson ’61 Café and Field Lab have the official LEED Platinum rating. What’s the significance of that?
“The Platinum rating is meant to recognize the highest level of achievement in terms of addressing sustainability in the real world,” says Mendler. “The LEED rating system is meant to evolve as the industry evolves, so over the years, it has become increasingly challenging for a building to be certified Platinum. Chatham should feel great about this third party validation.”
“This undertaking would have been a stretch for much larger institutions,” adds Goldberg. “For Chatham to do this at such a high level of quality really speaks to the leadership team as well as to the commitment from the whole Chatham community. The results are huge, and really have an impact not just within our community, but nationally.”
What are some cool things that only the architects might know, or that someone taking a tour of the campus might not realize?
1) “EHC operates with five ‘flavors’ of water,” says Mendler, ticking them off:
- Potable water from the city
- Rainwater captured from the roofs of the buildings
- Stormwater that flows across parking lots, plazas and landscaped areas
- TSE (treated sewage effluent) is water from showers, toilets, kitchens etc. that has gone through the waste treatment system and come out clean – it is used for flushing toilets and irrigation
- Water from the aquaculture system that includes fish waste – which can be a useful nutrient in agriculture! (“fish poop water”)
“The system balances and integrates these five streams, and it’s a great opportunity to explore interactions between them,” Mendler says.
2) “There’s a space used for storage in the basement of the Esther Barazzone Center,” says Goldberg. “It’s not heated or cooled, and the floor is right there in the dirt. It’s a gesture at the history of the farm, and it also teaches some of those old, common-sense farm practices of storing dry goods in an unconditioned space.”
“It’s fun to think of the future being nature-based. It’s not all about computing and mechanization… what we usually think about when we think about technology,” says Mendler. “And that’s an optimistic vision. What does the future look like? It might look kind of like Eden Hall Campus.”
3) “The wood you see inside the Anne Mallinson ’61 Café is from the dairy barn that it once was. If you look at down, you‘ll see the shadows of cows etched onto the floors. That’s where the cows used to stand, looking towards the south, toward the gorgeous view. That’s our way of acknowledging and honoring the prior use of the building,” says Mendler.
4) “I think it’s the only campus anywhere where the first thing you do as you enter is cross the wastewater treatment system,” says Goldberg. “As soon as you enter, the first thing you do is walk across a constructed wetland that treats wastewater through a biological process. It’s an innovative statement, to have wastewater treatment be the first thing visitors interact with, and it’s actually beautiful.”
5) Windows over two toilets in the Field Lab buildings look out over the constructed wetland, so you can literally see the waste treatment system. “In so many built environments, the underlying systems are intentionally hidden from view,” says Goldberg. “But this being an educational campus, making them visible was one of our goals.”
6) “The amphitheater space hosts music and other events, but it’s also an intentional design that controls rainwater through what’s known as a raingarden design,” says Goldberg. “Rainwater pools at the base of the amphitheater, where the stage floats on it—you can see this on a rainy day. The water slowly percolates and drains, undergoing a natural filtering process.”