SmithGroup, an engineering firm, has won second place in the inaugural 2008 Evergreen Awards, a national awards program that recognizes outstanding work in improving the environmental performances of buildings and their surroundings. The award is for the Christman Building, Lansing, a dual platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified corporate headquarters. In addition, the Detroit office was honored with two American Institute of Architects (AIA) Detroit Honor Awards: one for Indian Springs Metropark, James Clarkson Environmental Discovery Center, Springfield Township, MI; and the other for Western Michigan University's Richmond Center for Visual Arts, Kalamazoo, MI, both in the general building category.
AIA Detroit Awards will be presented at their annual Design and Recognition Honor Awards celebration to be held at the Detroit Institute of Arts on November 21. The Evergreen awards are to be presented in Boston at the annual GreenBuild conference in November.
Originally designed and built to house the headquarters of the Michigan Millers Mutual Fire Insurance Company in 1928, this landmark downtown building and brownfield site proved to be an irresistible candidate for a milestone green and historic preservation project. Aside from its rich history and beautiful interior, reusing an existing building is one of the most "green" initiatives possible in that the inherent embodied energy and resources within the structure can be tapped, urban sprawl can be reduced, and downtown and its existing infrastructure can be revitalized. Including the addition of a conference center at the original roof level, the renovated building contains approximately 60,000 gross square feet.
Marking the arrival at Indian Springs Metropark, the Environmental Discovery Center welcomes education groups, interested visitors and the general public to the ecosystems and restored wetlands of the recreational area. A threshold beyond the everyday view of the world, the Center offers a glimpse into the rich and diverse world within wetlands and their natural habitat.
Catering to a large population of users, the Center has become a valuable resource to support environmental education and nature interpretation, showcase water resource management and incorporate sustainable design. The hands-on ecology experience and variety of spaces available for research, exploration, observation, and play directly correspond with the Metropark's goals and objectives. An ideal setting in which to experience the site, the building also includes a popular multipurpose event space. A unique attraction is the Underwater Immersion Classroom, located in the deepest point of the Kettle Pond, that provides a 360-degree view of the world below the water's surface.
The Richmond Center for Visual Arts (RCVA) was the first step in a two-phase project to create a unified home for the School of Art at Western Michigan University. The School of Art is one of four departments within the College of Fine Arts. The Schools of Music, Dance and Theater were housed in facilities in and around the area where the RCVA now sits. The School of Art was dispersed in five facilities across the campus. The key to the RCVA is its location, bringing the School of Art into one identifiable location. The new facility completes the planned "Arts Village" as envisioned by the College of Fine Arts.
SmithGroup is composed of client industry-focused practices serving the education, workplace, health care, and science and technology markets.