The design for the new Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) headquarters, which is a collaborative effort of the Phoenix office of LEO A DALY, the international architecture, planning, engineering, interior design and program management firm, and Conron & Woods Architects of Santa Fe, N.M., was recently completed. The environmentally sensitive building, which will be located in Santa Fe, is projected to achieve a certification level of LEED Silver in the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED for New Construction (NC) rating system.
The sustainable design for the State of New Mexico building is notable for its beneficial use of indigenous materials and technologies. The design uses a modern interpretation of historical and cultural influences, local geographic features, vegetation, and indigenous building techniques as inspiration. In plan, the 35,000 square-foot building grows from its central courtyard much like a native yucca plant growing from its core. In form, the building was envisioned to echo the timeless presence of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Santa Fe. Solid, twenty-four inch thick rammed-earth walls (a building technique which traces its roots back 1,000 years to an adaptation of native adobe architecture) wrap the exterior of the building and create a sense of permanence, stability, and protection.
The use of multiple courtyards, a feature commonly found throughout the region, allows light to penetrate into the building and provides a sense of connection to the outside environment.
Like the use of rammed-earth construction, day-lighting and views were an important feature of the LEED-registered project. Due to pre-existing site conditions, it is anticipated that the majority of LEED points for this project will come from innovation in design, renewable energy sources, increased energy efficiency, improved water-management practices, the use of recycled materials as well as environmentally-friendly building materials, and maximization of daylighting and views.
The building will also incorporate salvaged steel in the form of a trellis and vertical shade fins. Additionally, many of the windows in the building will feature operable low-e, high-performance glass, which allows daylight in but greatly reduces the amount of incoming heat and harmful UV rays.
The project is anticipated to be complete by late 2008.
Established in 1915, LEO A DALY is an internationally renowned architecture, planning, engineering, interior design and project management firm. The company's portfolio includes award-winning projects in 65 countries, all 50 states, and the District of Columbia. The firm currently employs more than 1,100 architects, planners, engineers and interior designers in 24 offices worldwide. It consistently ranks in the top ten largest architecture/engineering and interior design firms in the U.S., and is listed in BD World Architecture's top 20 global practices.