Growing Green Center for Parks & People Foundation

Keith Peiffer, AIA; Steve Ziger, AIA

A pro-bono effort, Growing Green Center for Parks & People Foundation delivers a public showcase of best practices in sustainability and modular construction while providing a critical home to the non-profit client's community-focused programs.

Ziger/Snead provided pro bono services in collaboration with Building Design + Construction magazine, students from the School of Architecture + Planning at Morgan State University, and multiple industry sponsors to design a 14x43 foot prefabricated modular facility. Designed to LEED standards, the Green Workforce Development Center provides flexible educational space for workshops, training programs, and community activities that further the mission of the non-profit, Parks & People Foundation (PPF).

The modular building was designed to be transported to be exhibited at the USGBC's Greenbuild conference in Washington, DC as the BD+C GreenZone demonstration project before being permanently sited on the non-profit's 9-acre urban campus in a City park. At Greenbuild, the structure was set up to allow guests to learn more about the installed products and systems, many of which were donated by the project's 10 sponsor manufacturers. A portion of the building's rainscreen facade was left exposed near the main entrance so attendees could view the building envelope assembly, and live demonstrations were offered.

Following the show, the structure was trucked to its final destination in Baltimore on the site of the new headquarters for the Parks & People Foundation. There, it is sited in harmony with the existing buildings to form a cohesive urban campus for Parks & People, a 30-year-old nonprofit community organization whose mission includes promoting a healthy natural environment for Baltimore. The site also includes two restored 19th century stone structures and a new energy-efficient, 10,000-sf office building, also designed by Ziger/Snead, which achieved LEED Platinum certification.

The modular structure's massing and exterior complement the new Michel Center while providing a contemporary counterpoint to the historic structures on site. COLLABORATION This project is the result of a collaboration between Building Design + Construction (BD+C) magazine and multiple industry sponsors through their GreenZone program. As the architect, Ziger/Snead coordinated the effort to design and construct the building. A collaborative process involved coordination of a diverse team to meet the needs for the project's multiple "clients": PPF, BD+C, and the product manufacturers. While remaining flexible during design to accommodate the product sponsorship process, the design solution successfully fulfills program and logistic needs for the project's two district deployments. Students from Morgan State University contributed through a design charrette, seminar course, scholarship and internship, and an independent study. Site infrastructure was funded through a generous donation from the Silber family.  

Through the unique partnership, what would be a temporary, disposable structure for Greenbuild becomes a permanent asset for a local non-profit. The building itself showcases new and innovative green products first to the attendees from the design and construction industries and as a didactic tool for use in environmental education programs for children and youth. The design incorporates the following additional sustainable design strategies: a high albedo roof surface, low-flow fixtures, daylighting, mechanized solar shading, energy-efficient appliances, natural ventilation, and an energy-efficient VRF system. A rainwater collection system featuring a gutter and storage tank serves as a teaching tool that is used to irrigate a nearby vegetable garden.

Image credits


Keith Peiffer, AIA; Steve Ziger, AIA