AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects
Austin Resource Center for the Homeless
|Photo credit: Thomas McConnell|
- Location: Austin, TX
- Building type(s): Other
- New construction
- 26,800 ft2 (2,490 m2)
- Urban setting
- Completed April 2004
Rating: U.S. Green Building Council LEED-NC, v.2/v.2.1--Level: Silver (34 points)
Rating: Austin Energy Green Building Program --Level: Five Stars
Much more than an emergency shelter, the Resource Center serves as a meeting place and support center, helping people transition out of homelessness through its many programs. The building includes a large common-use room, showers and locker rooms, laundry facilities, a computer room, an art studio, and offices for various community-support agencies. A clinic, located on the first floor, provides health services. The second floor houses a large commercial kitchen and dining room. Located on the third floor in a pavilion-like structure on the roof is the 100-bed overnight shelter. The sleeping area's rooftop terrace opens up to panoramic views of the city.
This project was chosen as an AIA Committee on the Environment Green Project for 2005. It was submitted by LZT Architects, Inc., in Austin, Texas. Additional project team members are listed on the "Process" screen.
The Resource Center is sited on a former brownfield in downtown Austin, within easy access of several bus lines. The project also includes preferred parking for carpools, storage space for bicycles, and a fueling station for an electric car.
A 13,000-gallon rainwater collection system supplements the building's water supply. A passive-solar hot-water system preheats water for the showers, and a photovoltaic array supplements electricity usage.
The "stack-cast tilt-frame" structural system reduced the amount of finished materials and formwork used on the building and increases the quality of the exposed concrete finish. Flyash was used to replace 45% of the cement in the concrete. Concrete and other structural materials were left exposed in much of the building. Many of the materials used in the project contain rapidly renewable or recycled content. The project also includes FSC-certified wood and a range of locally manufactured materials. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) products were avoided.
The strong connection between the interior and exterior, created through the numerous interpenetrating volumes, allows natural light and views into more than 90% of the work spaces. About 10% of the space can be naturally ventilated. Materials with low emissions of volatile organic compounds also contribute to a healthy environment.
Owner & Occupancy
- Owned and occupied by City of Austin, Local government
- Typically occupied by 120 people, 60 hours per person per week; and 40 visitors per week, 40 hours per visitor per week
Integrated team, Green framework, Transportation benefits, Brownfield redevelopment, Indigenous vegetation, Water harvesting, Efficient fixtures and appliances, Drought-tolerant landscaping, Massing and orientation, Glazing, Passive solar, Lighting control and daylight harvesting, Efficient lighting, Adaptable design, Durability, Benign materials, Recycled materials, Local materials, Certified wood, C&D waste management, Connection to outdoors, Daylighting, Natural ventilation, Low-emitting materials, Indoor air quality monitoring