The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) primary goal was to protect, preserve, and celebrate the setting, while simultaneously showcasing technologies that contribute to net-zero energy, water and waste. CBF was looking for a Landscape Architect to master plan a property to include a net-zero building that would serve as the headquarters for their outdoor environmental education […]
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) primary goal was to protect, preserve, and celebrate the setting, while simultaneously showcasing technologies that contribute to net-zero energy, water and waste. CBF was looking for a Landscape Architect to master plan a property to include a net-zero building that would serve as the headquarters for their outdoor environmental education programs in Hampton Roads and provide a public meeting space. The structure would be a model of sustainability, restoration, and education about the Bay and local rivers. Every aspect of the building –its location, materials, construction utilities, operation, and use –would meet the strictest environmental standards. With these goals in mind, the design team embarked on a highly iterative, integrative process, while trying to meet the standards for LEED Platinum and the Living Building Challenge (LBC). The team toured other LBC projects to formulate a shared vision for the project, which later became known as the Brock Environmental Center (BEC).
The Landscape Architect’s site analysis included an investigation of the ecological function of the site, emphasizing the site’s potential to filter stormwater from beyond its own boundary. Rainwater is filtered and disinfected and supplies all water uses within the Center. Excess rainwater and graywater flows or is piped into separate rain-gardens. Naturalized planting areas absorb rainfall and allow flood waters to spread and recede naturally. All hardscape is composed of permeable pavers and gravel, with adjacent raingardens and bio-swales to treat runoff. Winston Place was the first permeable paver public Right-Of-Way leading up to BEC to be reviewed and approved by City of Virginia Beach. The building is setback 200 feet from the shore (100 feet more than required) and elevated 14 feet above sea level which sets the building as a prototype for coping with climate change in a region increasingly prone to flooding.
Pathway connections to a research vessel pier and a kayak launch as well as general access to the shoreline and natural areas of the site were planned. Immediate improvements included parking, existing trail refurbishment, and a kayak shelter and launch. Long-range goals included wetland mitigation, re-forestation, and refinement of recreational areas.
BEC achieved the LBC certification and LEED Platinum; the most widely recognized green building certification across the globe. BEC will engage, inform, and inspire the community to solve the Bay’s challenges in innovative, sustainable, and collaborative ways for decades to come.