Connecticut Center for Science and Exploration

This 140,000 square foot building contains interactive science and technology exhibits arranged on either side of Science Alley, the building’s central atrium. The program also contains classroom spaces, a café, a multi-purpose theater and staff offices. Large amounts of glass allow dramatic views into and out of the building, which is arranged to offer views of and a connection to the Connecticut River.

The building sits atop a 3-story parking garage, which was also in our scope of work. Mechanical and electrical systems have been guided by the Owner’s mission and sense of stewardship, and contributed to the LEED Gold Certification that has been bestowed upon the building by the USGBC.
Some of the ways in which the carbon footprint of the building is reduced include:
– Science Alley is a tempered volume, not a fully conditioned space. Relief air is transferred from the exhibits to Science Alley to provide general tempering, while the bridges that span Science Alley are conditioned micro-climates. This allows for a tactile sense of change as the visitor ascends and descends the stairways in Science Alley which connect the three exhibit levels, yet allows for comfort while engaging the Science Alley exhibits from the spanning bridges.
– Enthalpy based heat recovery systems are provided on selected air handling units. This transfers heat and moisture between the outside air and the exhaust air, reducing the need to condition the outside air.
– A displacement air system is used in the Multipurpose Room, with under seat air supply and face and bypass cooling coil for efficient dehumidification and temperature control.
– Outside air rates are controlled by measuring CO2 levels, and automatically adjusting the ventilation air quantities as required.
– Variable frequency drives are employed on fans and pumps.
– A Photovoltaic array is planned for the south wall of the building, to generate electricity for use within the building.
– A 200 kW Fuel Cell, provided under a grant from United Technologies, produces on-site power. The electricity produced by the fuel cell is within the building, and telemetry from the fuel cell will be integrated into the exhibits to show the amount of power that is not drawn from the electric utility grid.
– A DDC control system is used to monitor and control the building systems, implement energy reduction strategies, and integrate into the exhibits.
Combining the spectacular architecture with the progressive building systems, this building is the most advanced science center of its kind in the region.

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Details

Location: Hartford, CT

Completion Date: 2009

Architects: Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects

Awards: USGBC LEED Building Gold Certification in December 2009