New England AIA Awards
by Brian Libby
The rectangular volume of Kroon Hall by Michael Hopkins wears one great roof, pitched up to a broadly curving ridgeline. This new home for Yale University's School of Forestry & Environmental Studies in New Haven, Connecticut, achieves both a welcoming form and a high level of sustainable design.
Designed by Hopkins Architects of London, with Centerbrook Architects and Planners as executive architect, Kroon Hall is expected to earn a Platinum LEED certification.
Kroon Hall is one of the 21 projects recognized by the New England chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in its 2009 design awards. Other honorees include single-family homes, science research buildings, and even a humble storage facility.
The north side of the four-story Yale building is buried into the sloping site, while the more-public west elevation, facing Prospect Street, offers a dramatic two-story presence. Constructed with stone, concrete, steel, and glass, the structure contains faculty offices, classrooms, a library and study center, an auditorium, and a flexible space for hosting exhibitions and symposia.
The building's energy use is expected to be less than half that of a comparable conventional academic building, and photovoltaic panels and solar hot water collectors provide one-quarter of the building's energy. To achieve full carbon neutrality for electricity usage in Kroon, the university will purchase carbon offset credits.
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