Morris Arboretum’s Horticulture Center Awarded Montco Land Development Award

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Media Contact:Susan Crane | cranesj@upenn.edu | (215) 247-5777 x121November 29, 2011

On November 16, the Montgomery County Planning Commission presented its Montgomery Awards, acknowledging outstanding land development and revitalization achievements in Montgomery County. These awards are dedicated to raising awareness about planning and design in our communities; they honor developers, consultants, organizations, and municipalities for their commitment and contributions to the enhancement of Montgomery County.

This prestigious program has two major award categories, one of which is the Land Development Award, focused on excellence in land development and planning concepts. The Horticulture Center of the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, Phase 1 was one of two winning recipients in recognition of its innovative site planning, energy-efficient building design and sustainable design features. The Horticulture center, located on the Arboretum’s Bloomfield Farm, contains the maintenance and administrative functions for the Arboretum’s horticulture, education, maintenance, and facilities staff, providing important infrastructure for staff and equipment. The new buildings are located to preserve the surrounding open space and enhance the agricultural heritage of the site. The office building is made of natural materials, and the garages are designed to resemble farm structures. The project achieved Platinum Level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification in 2011, the highest rating of the U.S. Green Building Council. Sustainable and green design features include green roofs on two of the garages. Multiple cisterns store excess rainwater for irrigation and lavatory use. Rain gardens, planted with native plant species, manage storm water. The landscaping features native trees, shrubs and meadow plantings. The center is powered without the use of any fossil fuels. A high-efficiency geothermal heating and cooling system, coupled with a high-performance building envelope, reduces energy use by over 40 percent. Solar panels and a solar water heater further reduce energy needs. Careful selection of carpets, paint and furniture creates a healthier work environment. More than 20 percent of the building materials used came from within a 500-mile radius, and recycled content makes up 20 percent by cost of the materials used. More than 75 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills. This exceptional project exemplifies the Arboretum’s continued commitment to sustainability. The Horticulture Center provides a wonderful opportunity to learn about sustainable practices and is an outstanding addition to the Morris Arboretum and the community.

The Horticulture Center was designed by architects from Overland Partners of San Antonio, TX, Muscoe Martin of Philadelphia’s M2 Architecture, and Andropogon Associates, Morris Arboretum’s Philadelphia-based landscape planners since 1977.  The contractor for the project was W.S. Cumby. The mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineer was Bruce Brooks & Associates, and the site/civil engineers were Hunt Engineering.

The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is located at 100 East Northwestern Avenue in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia.  The 92-acre horticulture display garden features a spectacular collection of mature trees in a beautiful and colorful landscape. The Arboretum features numerous picturesque spots such as a formal rose garden, historic water features, a swan pond, and the only remaining freestanding fernery in North America. A new permanent nationally award winning exhibit, Out on a Limb – a Tree Adventure adds to Morris Arboretum’s allure as it transports visitors 50 feet up into the treetops on a canopy walk that requires no climbing.  The Morris Arboretum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

For more information, please visit www.morrisarboretum.org.  High resolution photos of the Horticulture Center can be downloaded from the link at the bottom of the home page, marked Hi-Res Photos.