Blue Ridge Destination Center

This is Blue Ridge Parkway Destination Center, a $9.8 million visitor’s center near Ashville, North Carolina.  As a modern structure seeking LEED Gold certification, it’s garnered significant press for its ecological design.  Designed by Lord, Aeck, & Sargent, Blue Ridge was modeled to use 75% less energy than a comparable, conventionally designed building.  That’s due, at least in part, to its incredible green features, such as the sawtooth Trombe walls on the southerly face, 10,000 sf green roof, natural daylighting, high-efficiency mechanical system, natural ventilation, radiant heating, rainwater reclamation system for on-site use, etc. 

Unless you look closely, you probably can’t tell that Blue Ridge was designed with all the foregoing green features.  It’s a great looking building that’s also very green. 

The first two articles linked to below go into technical aspects of the design, including the modeling and use of Trombe walls to provide heat in the winter.  The Trombe walls alone, although still being monitored, are estimated to contribute to annual energy savings of 35% of the building’s heating load (128.5 MBTU/yr).  For further reading, make sure to give all three a click. 

[+] Appalachain Suncatcher [Architecture Week]
[+] Passive Solar on the Blue Ridge Parkway [ED+C]
[+] $9.8 Million Visitor Center Opens [Times-News]


Computational Fluid Dynamics


Image credits: Blue River; Lord, Aeck & Sargent; and ArchitectureWeek.