Blue Ridge Parkway Center a Model of Ecological Design

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.

  • suresh

    There is no escaping that our health – both individually and as a society – is directly linked to the health of our environment. So at Bluehouse, we passionately believe that what surrounds your body is just as important to your well-being as what you put into it. We offer you the confidence that the things we bring into your life are good for you, good for your family, good for your home, and good for the planet.
    For more detail please check

    • Preston

      Suresh, next time, feel free to drop a line at our Advertising page, because this article is about Blue Ridge Parkway Destination Center.

  • earlenda jimmy

    hi, i visited your website today. i was very impressed with all the information you have on thrombe wall. im doing a paper on thrombe wall for my ctm class.

    • Preston

      Thanks Earlenda, hope the paper goes well. Don’t forget to check out this article on the Lawrence Country Home, which also has a trombe wall.

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