Launch Slideshow

International Fund for Animal Welfare Headquarters, Yarmouth Port, Mass.

DesignLAB Architects reclaims a Cape Cod landfill and builds a new home for an animal rights organization.

International Fund for Animal Welfare Headquarters, Yarmouth Port, Mass.

DesignLAB Architects reclaims a Cape Cod landfill and builds a new home for an animal rights organization.

  • http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp4657%2Etmp_tcm20-142405.jpg

    true

    600

    Peter Vanderwarker

    Transforming a highly contaminated brownfield site into a classic Cape Cod landscape was a laborious process - in addition to chemicals, the clean-up teams pulled an intact motorcycle and other trash from the ground - but it paid off: the IFAW headquarters project received LEED Gold certification in December 2008.

  • http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp465F%2Etmp_tcm20-142461.jpg

    true

    600

    Peter Vanderwarker

    The entrance to the IFAW headquarters is located at the northeast corner of the middle shed, and the wood boardwalk and siding, as well as the glass, begin to set the material vocabulary for the rest of the complex.

  • http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp4660%2Etmp_tcm20-142468.jpg

    true

    600

    PETER VANDERWARKER

    To keep with the overall Cape Cod aesthetic, the design team split the needed 55,000 square feet into three connected buildings in a horseshoe configuration. Expansive glazing allows for views onto the meadow landscape created by Stephen Stimson Associates and lets workers in the open office spaces see into each of the other buildings. Stationary wood louvers help to block glare, and an exterior boardwalk around the perimeter of the courtyard provides circulation during the warmer months.

  • http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp4661%2Etmp_tcm20-142475.jpg

    true

    600

    First Floor

  • http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp4662%2Etmp_tcm20-142482.jpg

    true

    600

    Second Floor

  • http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp4663%2Etmp_tcm20-142489.jpg

    true

    600

    Curtain Wall Section

  • http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp4664%2Etmp_tcm20-142496.jpg

    true

    600

    Louver Elevation

  • http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp4665%2Etmp_tcm20-142503.jpg

    true

    600

    Peter Vanderwarker

    A system of stationary wood louvers covers the double-height glazing on the courtyard walls. The louvers are 7 inches wide, and 1 1/2 inches thick and provide sunshading for the open office areas within the building while still admitting ample daylight.

  • http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp4666%2Etmp_tcm20-142510.jpg

    true

    600

    Peter Vanderwarker

    The wooden slats are made from jarrah, a renewable species of eucalyptus in Western Australia that complements the mahogany used for exterior boardwalks.

  • http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp4658%2Etmp_tcm20-142412.jpg

    true

    600

    Peter Vanderwarker

    Metal spacers delineate window bays while also providing an anchor point for window-washing platforms to be affixed to the side of the building.

  • http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp4659%2Etmp_tcm20-142419.jpg

    true

    600

    Peter Vanderwarker

    A steel anchor is set into the building foundation and is connected to the steel louver supports with a steel pin, ensuring that the louvers are secure, even in high winds.

  • http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp465A%2Etmp_tcm20-142426.jpg

    true

    600

    Peter Vanderwarker

    Double-height spaces like this one by the main entrance are used throughout the building to promote interaction between the workers on different floors. Hardwood stair treads are capped with an inset oil-rubbed bronze nosing. Hardwood railings are supported by steel balusters, and 5/8-inch-thick laminated glass completes the handrail assembly.

  • http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp465B%2Etmp_tcm20-142433.jpg

    true

    600

    Handrail Section

  • http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp465C%2Etmp_tcm20-142440.jpg

    true

    600

    Peter Vanderwarker

    Hardwood complementing the mahogany of the exterior boardwalk continues inside, forming an interior boardwalk that follows the glazed façade. The same hardwood reappears on the staircases.

  • http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp465D%2Etmp_tcm20-142447.jpg

    true

    600

    Peter Vanderwarker

    There are no corridors in a traditional sense in the IFAW headquarters. Instead, there is what the architects call an "exhibit trail," which meanders through the interior. At 13 points along the trail, text and graphics explain the IFAW's mission and the building's key environmental strategies. One of the graphics, an elephant, is visible from inside a conference room.

  • http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp465E%2Etmp_tcm20-142454.jpg

    true

    600

    Peter Vanderwarker

    On the second floor, high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows afford views of the outdoors, one benefit of going through the site-remediation process. Despite the cost of the cleanup, as well as the rich hardwood detailing throughout the building, the cost was a modest $220 per square foot-or $80 below comparable area projects.

Sometimes the best architecture is borne not of solving problems, but turning them into assets. The new headquarters for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) headquarters is a project that does just that. IFAW's search for an affordable Cape Cod location ended with a tract along the historic Old King's Highway, occupied with the remains of a long-defunct wholesale plant nursery. "We took soil samples expecting to find pesticides," recalls Robert Miklos, principal of Boston-based designLAB Architects. "We didn't expect to find extensive heavy-metal contamination, suggesting that the site had once been a landfill."

A minimally contaminated site suddenly became a brownfield. Rejecting the simplest solution of capping the surface and building over it, IFAW chose the more complicated route—the removal of all toxins from the soil to a depth of 10 feet and the construction of a traditional Cape Cod landscape on a drumlin with native vegetation, rain gardens, and bioswales.

The centerpiece of the landscape is a large meadow around which the architects placed three buildings. "A single structure of 55,000 square feet would have been out of character with the region's vernacular architecture," explains Miklos. "The [buildings] are modeled on the classic Cape Cod barn." The shed interiors are lofts with large expanses of glass. While the open plan reduces the square footage of individual workspaces, it responds to IFAW's unique corporate culture by providing bigger conference "collaboration" rooms, private telephone rooms, and open staircases to encourage interaction.

An innovative structural system also opens the interior. The floor plates are column-free at the along the walls around the courtyard, where a screen of wood louvers hangs from the roof by steel straps. Views out of the floor-to-ceiling windows showcase the natural environs, and thus the site reclamation, proving, ultimately, that the effort was worthwhile.

Project Credits
Project: World Headquarters for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Yarmouth Port, Mass.
Client: International Fund for Animal Welfare
Architect: designLAB Architects—Robert Miklos (principal-in-charge and project architect); Sam Batchelor (project manager); Robert Caddigan (senior technical architect); Brent Stringfellow, Whitney Hudson, Scott Slarsky (project designers)
General Contractor: JK ScanLan Co.
Lansdscape Architect: Stephen Stimson Associates Landscape Architects
M/E/P Engineer: TMP Consulting Engineers
Civil Engineer: Down Cape Engineering?Daniel A. Ojala
Structural Engineer: ODEH Engineers
Geotechnical Engineer: Norfolk Ram
Lighting Consultant: Sladen Feinstein Integrated Lighting
Owner's Representative: KVA Associates
Furnishings: Leslie Saul Associates
Size: 55,000 square feet
Total Project Cost: $17 million


TOOLBOX

Jarrah Louvers
Weyerhaeuser; weyerhaeuser.com
The exterior decks and wood louvers are constructed of jarrah, a species of eucalyptus that is abundant in Australia and has a 10—15-year growth cycle. Similar in appearance to mahogany, jarrah is fire- and rot-resistant and requires no chemical treatment. Weyerhaeuser sources jarrah hardwood lumber from Gunns Ltd. Jarrah grows in Western Australian forests, which are managed by the local forest ministry.

Septic System
F.R. Mahony; frmahony.com
DesignLAB Architects, in collaboration with Down Cape Engineering, chose an amphidrome septic system because they wanted a process that would filter wastewater before returning it to the water supply. The amphidrome system uses a bioreactor process, forcing wastewater through a deep bed of sand to clean the water. The system is designed to remove soluble organic matter, nitrogen, and suspended solids within a single reactor, as opposed to other systems that require multiple steps. Since it removes nitrogen, the amphidrome system is also considered a biological nutrient removal process.

ArchiCAD 12, Building Information Modeling (BIM) software
Graphisoft; graphisoft.com
The designLAB team decided to use BIM software for the design of the IFAW headquarters in part because ODEH, the structural engineer on the project, already use BIM for all of its designs, and working with one BIM model facilitated work between the two firms. But when it came time to choose a program, designLAB chose Graphisoft's ArchiCAD because it worked within the firm's existing Macintosh platform. Principal Robert Miklos notes that the ability for both architects and engineers to access the same product database and to collaborate on the 3-D model saved time and money, a bonus for the client.