Chatham University

Sustainability & the Environment

Chatham University names architectural team to lead Eden Hall Campus master plan

As Chatham University celebrates its 140th anniversary during 2009–2010, the institution is poised to lay the foundation for the future of its “green” Eden Hall Campus in Gibsonia, including the new Falk School of Sustainability & Environment that will be located there. University officials announced that it has hired the architectural team of Berkebile Nelson Immenschuh McDowell (BNIM) of Kansas City, Mo., which is partnering with landscape design firm Andropogon Associates of Philadelphia to lead the master planning process.

The University received a $750,000 gift from the Richard King Mellon Foundation toward both the master plan and the University’s search for the dean of its new Falk School of Sustainability & Environment (SSE), which will eventually be located at the 388-acre Eden Hall Campus. The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (NYSE: PNC), also contributed funds for the master plan. Announced in June 2009, SSE is one of the first schools of sustainability in the United States, while the Eden Hall Campus will be one of the country’s first university campuses built from the ground up in the 21st century. It will complement the University’s historic 39-acre Shadyside Campus which is the city’s oldest original university campus and includes the new Chatham Eastside facility less than one mile east at Penn and Fifth avenues in East Liberty.

The PNC and Richard King Mellon Foundation gifts represent the first major gifts for the Eden Hall Campus since the University received the property from Eden Hall Foundation on May 1, 2008.

“This is a historic time for Chatham University and for the region as we embark upon planning not only a second campus, but also establishing an institution to address sustainability for the 21st century,” noted S. Murray Rust III, chair of Chatham’s Board of Trustees. “BNIM and Andropogon are preeminent designers of sustainable living and working environments, and are poised to make us think big about our campus’ potential.

“We are also grateful and honored that The PNC Foundation and Richard King Mellon Foundation, two stewards of green building and sustainable design in Pittsburgh, are supporting this process.”

“Chatham University’s commitment to establish the new school of study continues their legacy of support for sustainability and the environment,” said Eva Blum, president and chair of The PNC Foundation. “The planning of the new campus further expands Chatham University’s ability to address some of the most important issues facing this region and the world.”

The hiring of BNIM and Andropogon represents the culmination of hands-on research of other public and university programs around the country by University leaders, according to Chatham President Esther L. Barazzone, Ph.D. One inspiration behind the planning and mission for Eden Hall Campus was the legacy of Chatham alumna Rachel Carson, Class of 1929 and founder of the modern environmental movement.

“Since receiving Eden Hall Campus as a gift from Eden Hall Foundation in 2008, our Trustees, faculty and administration have carefully and diligently researched sustainable practices and projects throughout the U.S. to help us understand how we could build a living and learning environment that would make our most honored alumna, Rachel Carson, truly proud,” Dr. Barazzone explained. “After reviewing proposals from several firms, we found that BNIM and Andropogon were set to challenge us to think beyond what we had learned and truly create a landmark institution unparalleled in higher education.

“We could have no better team than BNIM and Andropogon to lead us through the master planning process. Their commitment to its success has helped to generate interest and excitement in this project throughout the community, as evidenced by the support of The PNC Foundation and Richard King Mellon Foundation.”

The planning process is expected to continue until June 2010, after which the University, BNIM and Andropogon will present the master plan to the Richland Township Board of Supervisors.

About BNIM
BNIM Architects is a multidisciplinary architecture and design firm founded in 1970 in Kansas City, Missouri. Throughout its history, the firm has remained committed to its local and regional communities while establishing a national presence as an innovator of design methodologies, sustainability and new technologies in architecture, planning and workplace design. BNIM’s mission is to improve the quality of life for the owner, user and surrounding community through a balance of social, economic and environmental concerns.

The firm’s principal and project leader, Robert Berkebile, is also founder of the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) National Committee on the Environment, Bob Berkebile and one of the central forces behind a new focus on sustainable building that has influenced thousands of architects and changed the face of green architecture in America. He helped to found both the U.S. Green Building Council and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. His sustainable design and planning projects extend from new developments to several restorative sites including New Orleans and Greensburg, Kan. In 2009 Mr. Berkebile was honored at the 15th annual Heinz Awards for his role in promoting green building design and for his commitment and action towards restoring social, economic and environmental vitality to America’s communities through sustainable architecture and planning.

About Andropogon
Collaborating with BNIM is the landscape architecture and ecological planning and design firm Andropogon Associates in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1975 to pursue an ecological perspective in landscape architecture, planning, and design, Andropogon is one of the leading environmental/sustainable landscape architecture firms in the United States. The firm is committed to the principle of “designing with nature,” creating beautiful and evocative landscapes inspired by the careful observation of natural processes and informed by the best environmental science. At the core of Andropogon’s practice is environmentally-responsible design, which is grounded in a philosophy that respects and builds upon the natural and cultural character of a site.

As one of the firm’s Principals, Jose Alminana, RLA, ASLA, LEED AP, has been widely recognized in both the architectural and landscape architectural communities for his commitment to broadening the scope and expertise of the landscape architecture profession. In addition to his ground-breaking projects, Jose has also been instrumental in the development of professional standards and metrics that place landscape architects at the core of the sustainability movement, most importantly for the Sustainable Sites Initiative, SITESTM. Representative projects include Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC, the first LEEDTM Platinum certified school in the country; the Phipps Conservatory Center for Sustainable Landscapes, designed to meet the rigorous criteria of the Living Building Challenge; and the Yale University Sculpture Building and Gallery which achieved LEEDTM Platinum certification and was included in the 2008 AIA COTE Top Ten Green Building List.


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