The sustainable rehabilitation of the Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center at President Lincoln’s Cottage was named the 2009 “Project of the Year” in the New Construction/Major Renovation category by the U.S. Green Building Council’s National Capitol Region chapter.
The award, officially announced at an evening ceremony on Tuesday, July 21, comes after the USGBC recognized the Visitor Education Center as a LEED Gold project, further proof that historic preservation and sustainable design are fully compatible forms of “green building.”
The Visitor Education Center is an Italianate Renaissance Revival style building constructed in 1905 as part of the Soldiers’ Home campus in northwest Washington, D.C. In 2007, the building was sustainably rehabilitated and adapted for use as the visitor center and staff offices for President Lincoln’s Cottage, a National Trust Historic Site, which opened to the public in February 2008, after an 8 year restoration project. The Visitor Education Center was awarded LEED Gold in April 2009.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation is committed to integrating sustainable planning policies and sustainable preservation treatments in both the Cottage and the Visitor Education Center. This effort was undertaken as part of the National Trust’s larger Sustainability Program, which is designed to promote the understanding of historic buildings as significant environmental, economic, social and cultural resources.
One of the key activities of the Sustainability Program has been a partnership with the USGBC to encourage improvement of the LEED green building standards to better reflect the benefits of building re-use. The LEED certification credits achieved by the Visitor Education Center underscore some of the intrinsic values and advantages that a historic building contains. For example, in the Materials and Resources category, the Visitor Education Center reused 98 percent of the existing walls, roof and floors.
Primary Team Members:
The National Trust for Historic Preservation (“Owner”)
The Christman Company (Construction Manager)
RMJM Hillier (Architect)
Joseph R. Loring & Associates, Inc (Engineer)
The United Technologies Corporation (Project Sponsor)