Constructed in 1968, the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Office Building and US Courthouse includes 188,000 square feet of Court and Federal Agency Office functions, and is considered to be an important example of regional mid-century architecture. The renovation design compliments the original building with a simple palette, integrating new elements while optimizing re-use of existing. Our charge was to:
• Restore “distinguishing architectural features” (canopies, façade);
• Create a new “first impression” by adding an entry pavilion to incorporate security and consolidate formerly
separate (Court and Post Office) entries into one;
• Renovate circulation and offices throughout;
• Add new District/Magistrate Courtrooms;
• Replace all MEP/Life Safety systems;
• Achieve LEED Platinum.
The beacon-like Pavilion is a transparent jewel in contrast to the opacity of the original building. It slips behind the existing “historic” canopies and spans across flanking intimate gardens - as a bridge marking entry into the domain of the Courthouse.
The pavilion is simply and delicately detailed, despite its blast resistance. The articulation of the white concrete frame in the original building is reinterpreted in steel in the new pavilion. The super-light structure is designed with exceptionally thin crisp profiles, and superbly crafted and assembled with the low-iron, low-reflectance point-supported glazing system.
The former Post Office Lobby was re-purposed into a Arrival Hall that links the transformed Court/Office Lobby and new Social Security Lobby. The Hall features recognition of Margaret Chase Smith’s achievements, and original and new murals terminate views at each end of the Hall.
As mid-century buildings reach the end of their useful life in terms of systems, our charge to re-use them is driven by recognition of their value as cultural artifacts and our focus on sustainability. The original project scope included architectural improvements with only replace-in-kind improvements to MEP systems. Midway through design the Courthouse was selected for additional funding through President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which allowed replacement of all existing systems with the objective to develop a LEED Platinum high performance green building. In this context the project serves as a model for mid-century modernization design.
Utilizing hourly computer models of the existing building we compared eight scenarios to identify the highest value option to the GSA. The model addressed photovoltaic, local power generation, and net metering to Bangor Hydro, as well as solar domestic hot water, solar-assisted heat pumps, wind generation, geothermal heat pumps, chilled water storage, and hybrid geothermal heat pumps. An ASHRAE 90.1-2007 baseline system was used for comparison.
The design achieved LEED Platinum and reduced energy by over 52% over the existing systems. The building incorporates a geothermal-assisted central chiller-heater and 350 kW photovoltaic array to provide 30% of the energy consumption. Aspects / attributes of the work include:
- Window replacement with low-e insulated, anti-fragmentation glazing;
- High-performance insulation at walls and roof;
- New Building Automation System;
- Integrated HVAC, geothermal, photovoltaic, micro-turbines, lighting, security and fire systems into one control;
- Achieved Energy Star Rating of 99;
- Uses 52% less energy than the model Energy Star Building;
- 16 open-loop standing column geothermal wells drilled to 1,250’ depth;
- 10-panel photovoltaic system produces 108,000 kWh/yr providing 8% of electricity and 6% cost savings;
- Micro-turbine + evaporative chiller contribute to 43% energy reduction;
- Zero-waste recycling program diverts 45% from landfill;
The completed project accomplished the project goals in transforming an underperforming and outdated facility into a state-of-the-art contemporary federal courthouse that will serve the Courts for decades to come. At the same time, the high performance systems and energy savings accomplished the GSA’s goals to reduce maintenance and operating costs while providing it’s customer tenants a thoroughly modern and professional building environment.
- 26% below ASHRAE baseline
- 25% below existing building
- 35% below ASHRAE baseline
- 43% below existing building
Result: Building contributes 68% less greenhouse gas emissions than median U.S. office building of the same size.
One of the primary benefits of renovating versus building anew, is that the building remains as a vital part of the dense activated central business district of Bangor, and thus does not contribute to sprawl beyond the core.
- Verified existing parking does not exceed code;
- Created designated parking for car, van pool and low-emitting vehicles;
- New showers and bicycle racks for alternative transportation;
- Engaged local school kids in creation of site-specific Art-in-Architecture;
- Walk Score Rating = 91
Water use reduction of over 43% from baseline.
- Low-flow WaterSense plumbing fixtures;
- Rainwater harvesting consists of a roof catchment, gutters, downspouts, underground cisterns and drip
- System collects 108,000+ gallons of water per year;
- Captured rainwater used for 100% of landscape irrigation;
- Underground cisterns holds 6,800 gallons of reclaimed water;