Duke’s “Green” Ocean Conservation Center Wins Wood Design Award

Ocean Conservation Center, Duke Univ. Photo by Jeffrey Jacobs
Ocean Conservation Center, Duke Univ. Photo by Jeffrey Jacobs

March 2, 2009 (BEAUFORT, NC) — Duke University’s Ocean Conservation Center (OCC) at the Marine Lab in Beaufort, N.C., designed by Frank Harmon Architect PA of Raleigh, NC, recently received a Wood Design Award: Green Building Category from WoodWorks-Southeast, a division of the Wood Products Council of North America for non-residential construction.

“Wood contributes to building high performance by reducing energy use, resource use, pollution and overall environmental impact,” according to WoodWorks’ website. “Entries in the green building category should demonstrate how some or all of these principles have been applied in the building’s design and construction.

The 5,600-square-foot OCC is Duke’s only LEED Gold certified building and one of only about 1700 LEED rated projects in the United States. Presented by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the national benchmark for high performance “green” buildings.

Harmon used local building materials — yellow Southern pine and Atlantic white cedar — and recycled wood throughout the Ocean Conservation Center. The wood-shingled exterior complements the coastal context.

Other “green” features include photovoltaic cells, geothermal heating and cooling, solar panels for hot water, photovoltaic rooftop panels for converting sunlight into electricity, an abundance of operable windows for natural lighting and ventilation, deep roof overhangs to keep the sun off the windows, permeable sidewalks, a zinc roof designed to last 100 years and to reflect heat, and native landscaping.

Frank Harmon has designed many LEED-certified buildings, including the Botanical Gardens Visitors Center nearing completion now at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. It was designed to receive LEED Platinum certification, the highest level in the certification program. For more information, visit www.frankharmon.com.

The annual WoodWorks-South competition is open to designers, firms and building projects in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. The award ceremony was held February 24 at the Wood Solutions Fair in Raleigh.

WoodWorks is an initiative of the Wood Products Council, a cooperative venture of all the major wood associations in North America, as well as research organizations and government agencies. For more information visit http://www.woodworks.org

About Frank Harmon:
Frank Harmon, FAIA is an award-winning architect and an adjunct professor of architecture at the College of Design, North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. A veteran speaker at regional and national design conferences, he has presented versions of his popular “Architects Discuss America’s New Regionalism” seminar at the 2005, 2006 and 2007 National AIA Conventions and Dwell Magazine’s 2007 “Dwell On Design” Conference. He has served on many design awards juries, including the national jury for the American Institute of Architects’ 2005 Institute Honor Awards. He is currently serving on the U.S. General Services Administration’s National Register of Peer Professionals to improve public buildings.

Educated at both the N.C. School of Design and the Architectural Association in London, where he studied under James Stirling, Mr. Harmon worked for Richard Meier in New York before founding his own practice, Frank Harmon Architect, in Raleigh.  His work has been featured in numerous national and international journals, magazines and books on architecture, including The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture (Princeton Architectural Press), and has been exhibited in the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

As a practitioner, he is considered a leader in the field of sustainable design. In 2005 Frank Harmon Architect was named “Top Firm of the Year” by Residential Architect magazine. More recently, his received First Place in a professional design competition to select an architect for the AIA/North Carolina component’s new headquarters in downtown Raleigh. He was also featured recently in the “Conversation” section of Dwell Magazine and on American Public Media’s “The Story” with Dick Gordon (NPR).

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