Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | email@example.com | (218) 726-8830
April 25, 2013 James P. Riehl | Dean, Swenson College of Science and Engineering | 218 726-6397 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Lori Melton | Communication Associate | External Affairs | 218 726-8830 | email@example.com
UMD's Swenson Civil Engineering Building Makes AIA's Top Ten Green List
DULUTH, MN – The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the
Environment (COTE) have selected the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) Swenson Civil
Engineering Building for a significant honor. The building is included in the AIA's top ten
examples of sustainable architecture and green design solutions that protect and enhance
The COTE Top Ten Green Projects program, now in its 17th year, is the profession's best-known
recognition program for sustainable design excellence. Reed Construction Data and Building
Green are sponsors of the program.
James P. Riehl, dean of the Swenson College of Science and Engineering, said, "This building
has great aesthetics and it serves the students' needs. With the generous support of Jim and
Susan Swenson, we were able to achieve our goal of incorporating environmentally
James I. Swenson ('59 Chemistry UMD) and his wife, Susan, contributed to the construction of
the Swenson Civil Engineering Building and the Swenson Science Building, as well as
supporting science and research program scholarships and fellowships at UMD since 1994.
The COTE Top Ten Green Projects program celebrates structures that use a thoroughly
integrated approach to architecture, natural systems, and technology to provide
architectural solutions, which protect and enhance the environment. Entries are examined in
regard to their design and innovation, integration with their community, land use and effect
on site ecology, bioclimatic design, energy and water use, approach to light and air,
materials and construction, long-life considerations, and feedback loops.
This year's Top Ten Green Projects include a range of project types, such as single and
multifamily housing, education projects, mixed-use community projects, office spaces, and
This year's winners were chosen by the 2012 jury: Fiona Cousins of Arup in New York; Lance
Hosey, AIA, of RTKL in Washington, D.C.; Keelan Kaiser, AIA, of Judson University in Elgin, Ill.;
Sheila Kennedy, AIA, of Kennedy & Violich Architecture in Roxbury, Mass.; Rod Kruse, FAIA, of
BNIM Architects in Des Moines, Iowa; and Gail Vittori of the Center for Maximum Potential
Building Systems in Austin, Texas.
ABOUT THE BUILDING
UMD's Swenson Civil Engineering Building was designed to display systems as a teaching tool. The
building showcases structural and mechanical processes and storm water management techniques.
It acts as a working classroom where design plays an integral educational role, and civil engineering
processes are illuminated. The building overtly exposes sustainable systems and materials. Storm
water is directed from the roof to three scuppers and into above ground cylinders filled with rocks for
The two-story structure is wrapped around double-height laboratories. The building houses for 35,300
square-feet of space for instructional, research, and administrative functions. Spaces include faculty
offices, student workspaces, classrooms, and centrally located structural and hydraulics laboratories.
The project team successfully designed a building that seamlessly engages the adjacent structure,
reinforces existing circulation patterns, and mediates grade changes.
Sustainable strategies were incorporated into the design process and aesthetics. The University and
State required that the building meet LEED Silver standards. The University encouraged incorporation
of sustainable principles to foster development of civil engineers as responsible environmental
stewards. The final design achieved LEED Gold certification, coming within four points of Platinum.
The building was completed in 2010 and was designed by Ross Barney Architects of Chicago, with
SJA Architects (now TKDA) of Duluth as the architect on record. The total structure cost was $15
The building also received the 2013 Award of Excellence in the green/sustainable construction
category from the Minnesota Construction Association (MCA).