Frick Environmental Center Improvement Project

If you’ve visited Frick Park in the last few years, you’ve likely noticed the new Frick Environmental Center, one of the Conservatory’s most transformative capital improvement projects. The building, free and open to all, serves as a welcome facility and education hub for visitors. 

However, you might not know that the Frick Environmental Center is also a certified Living Building. A certification only given to just over a dozen buildings in the world, “Living Buildings” are only designated if they follow seven categories, or “petals,” in their concept and design: energy, materials, beauty, water, health, place, and equity.  

The energy aspect is achieved through the Center’s ability to use 40% less energy than an average building and the fact that it uses on-site solar panels and geothermal wells to reach net zero. The Center was constructed from materials sourced from responsible industries, recycled or locally produced. Interior furnishings were even made from locally salvaged wood of native tree species. Regarding the goal of beauty, local artists created unique wrought iron gates and features, inspirational plaques decorate the balcony, and the Center’s hallways feature student art. Water is also incorporated throughout the design, with rain water captured through cisterns and barrels.

As a building dedicated to health, the Center is the starting point for visitor hikes, incorporates active elements like stairs, and has natural light and ventilation. The “place” petal is dedicated to “restoring a healthy interrelationship with nature.” On this note, the building is set to be a gateway to the 115 acres of Frick Park and encourage people to connect with their local environment. Finally, the Center strives to be equitable with free restrooms, accessible classrooms, and meeting spaces for visitors to learn more about the environment.

Along with this certification, the Center also achieved a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum designation, indicating it is a highly rated “green” building. 

Next time you’re in Frick Park, stop by the Frick Environmental Center and check out the building for yourself!