Huzzah: The Barnes Foundation Receives Platinum LEED Certification, The First Major Art And Education Institution In The Country To Achieve This Status

The Platinum LEED Barnes Foundation proves that Philadelphia is a leader in both the arts and sustainability spaces in the country. (Photograph © 2012 The Barnes Foundation)

This just in: The Barnes Foundation’s gorgeous new Benjamin Franklin Parkway location has received a Platinum level of environmental certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the very first major art and education institution in the country to do so.

The building, in a special ceremony late last week, was certified as Platinum under the USGBC’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system. That’s the highest LEED distinction a building can receive.

And it’s a huge accomplishment, given the environmental challenges in developing an artistic institution in which the paintings require very special climate control, and visitors must be treated to optimal viewing conditions.

Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects designed the new campus, collaborating with Landscape Architects OLIN on the 4.5-acre site design and plantings, Fisher Marantz Stone on the lighting design and Associate Architects Ballinger on the project’s LEED effort. Take a look, below, at the various elements this decorated design team incorporated in order to achieve Platinum LEED status.

Green Project Elements

• Site selection that focused on redevelopment and accessibility

• Significant energy use reduction, including 12,000 square feet of roof panels that provide 8% of the electrical load of the building

• Vegetated roof

• Materials selection of rapidly renewable, local and recycled content including floors reclaimed from Coney Island’s boardwalk

• Water efficiency measures both inside and outside the building

• Beautiful gardens surrounding the building which were chosen in part for their hardiness and drought tolerance

The Barnes Foundation houses a hallowed art collection in a building that is an artistic jewel in its own right. As Mayor Nutter put it, “It’s a project that shows that Philadelphia is a city that cares deeply about the arts and sustainability.”

For more on the Barnes, including weekly programming, art and architecture tours you can take of the building and additional accolades the foundation has received, check out our coverage here.

Check out a very cool video taking an insider look at the Barnes’ sustainability factor, below.

The Barnes Foundation
2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway


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