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Modernized César E. Chávez Building Serves As Sustainable Neighborhood Gateway

ALT [JPG - 21 KB] After 28 months of construction, the U.S. General Services Administration is rededicating the César E. Chávez Memorial Building. The formal ceremony will take place Thursday, March 7, at 1 p.m., at 1244 Speer Boulevard, Denver, CO. Delivering on GSA’s mission to create a more sustainable government, the goal of this $37-million-dollar American Recovery and Reinvestment Act project is to achieve LEED® Silver.

“Sustainable design is vital to GSA’s mission of providing the best value in real estate and delivering a superior workplace for the federal employees. High performing sustainable buildings not only reduce the government’s environmental footprint, but also make good business sense. This is a win-win as this modernization has also turned a previously overlooked building into a beautiful structure that complements Denver's architecture,” said Susan Damour, GSA Rocky Mountain Regional Administrator.

The area of building efficiency affords tremendous opportunities for both economic growth and reduced environmental impacts. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, buildings across the United States account for 36 percent of total energy use and 65 percent of electricity consumption. The highlight of this modernization project is a new state-of-the-art building exterior consisting of an aluminum and glass curtain wall system that reduces the building’s energy consumption by 30 percent and produce five percent of its energy through on-site renewable energy technologies.

GE Johnson Construction and Tryba Architects implemented a number of sustainable features with this project. For example, the new parking garage features a solar sculpture capable of producing 115 kW hours of renewable energy, offsetting both the building’s energy consumption by five percent and reducing domestic hot water grid energy by 30 percent. The project also made good use of locally available materials, such as Yule marble, recycled steel, and terrazzo made from 50 percent recycled beer bottles from local breweries. Eighty-three percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills.

The César E. Chávez Memorial Building is located in a developed urban area within the Denver city limits known as the Golden Triangle. What once was an overlooked building now takes advantage of integrating a pedestrian-friendly and realigned Fox Street, landscaping, public art, and a hardscaped entry plaza. The result is that the Chavez Building no longer sits in isolation at the end of the block, but rather serves as a gateway building into Denver’s Civic and Justice Center and the Golden Triangle Neighborhood.

Working with the city of Denver, local neighborhood groups, and the local arts community, GSA will have an "Art Park" in front of the building entry area giving the agency the opportunity to further connect the space to this emerging art district. This art will be displayed in a highly visible parcel of land in front of the building, displaying a sculpture by Mexican artist Sebastian, entitled "In Three Movements."

This 180,000 square foot office building is home to five federal agencies, which consist of approximately 290 workers. GSA awarded the contract to a design-build team led by GE Johnson Construction on March 23, 2010.

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