VERMONT LAW SCHOOLâ€™S DEBEVOISE HALL
ACHIEVES LEEDÂ® SILVER CERTIFICATION AND
TRUEX CULLINS & PARTNERS RECEIVES TWO
AIAVT DESIGN EXCELLENCE AWARDS
JANUARY 10, 2007 | Burlington, Vermont
Truex Cullins & Partners is pleased to announce that Debevoise Hall, the historic renovation and addition project at Vermont Law School in South Royalton, VT, has achieved the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDÂ®) Silver Certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). In addition, this landmark project received an Excellence in Design Award from the Vermont Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIAVT) at the 2006 Annual Meeting in December. Truex Cullins & Partners also received a second Excellence in Design Award from AIAVT for the Gazebo at Vermont Law School.
The Debevoise Hall renovation project blends historic preservation with modern, resource-efficient technologies. The restored arched entryway leads to two restored classrooms and evokes the feel of the school that first took in students more than a century ago. The traditional character of the 27,775 square foot, four-story structure has been preserved on the main floor, while the upper floors have been reorganized to provide administrative offices and a new home for the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic. A new 7,250 square foot addition on the north side of the building contains the Yates Common Room, an all-purpose space that functions as the school's â€śliving room.â€ť A new home for the administration and faculty of the Law School's world-renowned Environmental Law Center is accommodated on the upper floors.
Vermont Law School has successfully sought USGBC LEEDÂ® Silver Certification for the project, a remarkable achievement, given the construction complexities of restoration, renovation and additions. Only three other structures in Vermont have been certified and all of these are new structures. The Design Team has brought a historic building into 21st century performance both in terms of its use of energy but also in terms of its environmental comfort, health, visual and acoustic quality. Even the furnishings and special millwork of the building have been designed by the architects and fabricated with certified wood by local Vermont craftsmen.
The durability of the revised structure was a key objective of the design and construction team. While the decorative features of the original Queen Anne-style building have been retained and restored, major structural amendments were required, and all three floors were augmented with additional structure. New building systems address fire safety, the building envelope performance and efficient heating, cooling and ventilation. The final "envelope" was tested for air tightness room-by-room â€“ theatrical fog was pumped in and the external walls checked for leakage. A sprinkler system was added, as was a new ventilating system, which uses five energy-recovering enthalpy wheels to maintain humidity and heat. High-performance fiberglass windows were installed inside the existing historic large, wood sash. Motion sensing lighting controls and energy-efficient fixtures throughout the building help to reduce energy consumption. Over 80 percent of the construction debris was recycled.
The building is also equipped with six composting toilets, which use microbial action to decompose waste. This innovative approach to waste disposal reduces water consumption by thousands of gallons annually and reduces stress on the communityâ€™s infrastructure.
Debevoise Hall contains a rich blend of programmatic functions that encourages continuous use. These uses are layered vertically from a very public first floor of classrooms, commons, seminar rooms and porches to progressively more private faculty offices on the two uppermost levels. The lowest floor of the building houses support functions for the entire campus such as the mail and copy center and computer server. The building has also been designed to be fully accessible and linkages to adjacent buildings and the surrounding environs are likewise accessible.
Vermont Law School continued its commitment to preserving the quality of the surrounding village and environment by accepting a unique challenge: to adapt the deteriorating, historic landmark to take on a new life as an environmentally sound "green building" at the center of the community and campus. While the historic elements of the exterior of the building have been retained, cutting edge environmental building technologies have been incorporated inside to minimize the use of non-renewable resources.
Debevoise Hallâ€™s Victorian/Queen Anne structure was originally designed by Montpelier architect George Guernsey and opened in 1893 as South Royalton's first centralized graded school. The building, a Registered Historic Landmark, anchors the Vermont Law School campus and its distinctive bell tower is visible from the surrounding village and landscape. The building has long been a symbol of education for the community and the Vermont Law School (VLS). Generations of young scholars from the town and surrounding areas were summoned to their classes by the tower's bell and its tones still signal the beginning and end of each class day. The restored structure remains the center of the Law School Campus and the Village of South Royalton, honoring its important place in the community.
Of the eight awards for Excellence in Architecture given at the AIAVT Annual Meeting and Design Awards Presentation, the Jury awarded two Merit Awards to Truex Culllins & Partners; one for Debevoise Hall in the Historic Renovation Category the and the other for the Law Schoolâ€™s Gazebo in the Small Project Category. The jury, comprised of architects from the AIA Connecticut Chapter, commented that Debevoise Hall has â€śspectacular color inside and outâ€ť, that the â€śintegration of furniture to the interior is spectacularâ€ť and that this project was â€ścarefully thought out.â€ť They also commented that the Gazebo had â€ścharm, pure, simple eleganceâ€ť and was â€śvery inviting.â€ť
The Gazebo was designed by Rolf Kielman, AIA, LEEDÂ® AP, who was also the Partner-in-Charge of the Debevoise Hall Project.
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