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Powdermill Nature Reserve, Part of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Exterior Front
Certificate of Merit & Green Design Citation
Powdermill Nature Reserve
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Pfaffmann + Associates PC
Cavcon Construction
Jury comments: We appreciated the integration of the materials with the landscape. The architect successfully connected the indoor and outdoor spaces. The materials used are respectful of the existing building while used appropriately to express new forms. The architect pushed the envelope of green by using straw bale and by adding a living machine. The interior spaces are exciting and delicate. The architect maximized the excitement by using very simple materials.
Pfaffmann and Associates, along with Cavcon Construction and The Powder Mill Nature Reserve met as a team and developed design changes that not only enhanced the project but reduced the cost of the project. These changes did not compromise the LEED Rating of the design or reduce the quality of the new exhibits.
This $3.5 million dollar construction project is anticipated to become LEED rated Silver after review by U.S. Green Building Council. Some of the unique features of the building include the region’s first Marsh Machine. This ecological treatment system uses plants to purify and recycle wastewater for nonpoatable uses. The Marsh Machine exhibit demonstrates how wetlands clean water. The Marsh Machine leads to the Living Stream and houses fish, salamanders and insects native to Powdermill Run.
The new building contains a number of environmentally friendly products, from recycled tires used for carpet, reflective roofing material to reduce air conditioning, and using low VOC adhesives to improve the air quality of the building. Cavcon Construction used many local materials on the project such as concrete, masonry, pavers and landscape stone. Most materials were from recycling including acoustical ceiling tiles, gypsum board, rebar and toilet partitions.
Cavcon Construction also was able to divert over 85% of the construction waste of the project by recycling, this was accomplished by using left over masonry for fill, grinding up the wasted gypsum and having farmers use on their fields and recycling all the wasted wood.

This 10,300 square foot expansion along with 3,200 square foot renovation with a cost of $3.5 million and was completed by Cavcon Construction with Pfaffmann and Associates as the architects.

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