AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects

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Garthwaite Center for Science & Art

This photo shows the entrance and front lawn of the Garthwaite Center.
Photo credit: Chuck Choi


  • Location: Weston, MA
  • Climate Region: 5A: Cool - Humid
  • Building type(s): Assembly, K-12 education, Laboratory
  • New construction
  • 22,000 ft2 (2,040 m2)
  • Project scope: 2-story building
  • Suburban setting
  • Completed August 2007

The Garthwaite Center at the Cambridge School of Weston houses laboratory classrooms for biology, chemistry, and physics; lab prep rooms; faculty offices; meeting space; a science display atrium; a large community gathering gallery; a small, secure art gallery; an integrated studies classroom; independent study space; and a campus data center.

In addition to focusing on its environmental goals, the project team had to contend with space and budgetary requirements. The site consisted of sloping bedrock, and the school wanted to preserve existing trees. In addition, the building had to accommodate all-school art shows, blend in with the existing campus, and create a popular student space on campus,.

This project was chosen as an AIA Committee on the Environment Top Ten Green Project for 2008. It was submitted by Architerra, Inc., in Boston, Massachusetts. Additional project team members are listed on the "Process" screen.

Environmental Aspects

The project team's environmental goals included preserving as many trees as possible to maintain the wooded setting of the campus. The building was designed to integrate with the site, with floor levels arranged to mimic the hillside they sit on. The partial green roof manages stormwater, lowers heating and cooling loads, and shades the building from solar heat gain with overhangs.

The building is oriented to the south to take advantage of daylighting and passive solar heating opportunities. A heavy timber frame was left exposed to minimize finishing. In addition, several of the building's systems were left exposed to offer teaching opportunities; an enthalpy heat wheel, a wood pellet boiler, and toilet composters can all be seen by students.

Owner & Occupancy

  • Owned and occupied by Cambridge School of Weston
  • Typically occupied by 9 people, 40 hours per person per week; and 600 visitors per week, 4000 hours per visitor per week


Integrated team, Design charrette, Green framework, Simulation, Green specifications, Contracting, Performance measurement and verification, Open space preservation, Wildlife habitat, Indigenous vegetation, Stormwater management, Drought-tolerant landscaping, Wastewater treatment, Massing and orientation, Insulation levels, Glazing, Airtightness, Passive solar, HVAC, Lighting control and daylight harvesting, Efficient lighting, Adaptable design, Durability, Benign materials, Recycled materials, Local materials, Certified wood, Connection to outdoors, Daylighting, Natural ventilation, Ventilation effectiveness, Moisture control, Thermal comfort, Noise control, Low-emitting materials

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Last updated: 4/22/2008

Our thanks to the ENERGY STAR program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and to the U.S. Department of Energy, and to BuildingGreen, Inc. for hosting the submission and judging forms.

For more information about the AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects, contact AIA/COTE. For help on how to use this Web site, contact .

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