Launch Slideshow

Suffragette City

The restoration of City Hall in University City, Mo., not only aimed to reclaim the building's Beaux Arts past but also to establish its energy-efficient future.

Suffragette City

The restoration of City Hall in University City, Mo., not only aimed to reclaim the building's Beaux Arts past but also to establish its energy-efficient future.

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    Michael Robinson

    University City's city council wants the renovated city hall building to be a green showpiece, setting an example and serving as an educational tool for local residents.

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    Michael Robinson

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    The Archives of the University City Public Library

    Edward Gardner Lewis built the Woman's Magazine Building in 1904 to house his magazine offices.

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    The Archives of the University City Public Library

    Edward Gardner Lewis built the Woman's Magazine Building in 1904 to house his magazine offices.

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    The Archives of the University City Public Library

    The building also served as a base for suffragettes during the American Woman's League's first national convention.

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    The Archives of the University City Public Library

    The building also served as a base for suffragettes during the American Woman's League's first national convention.

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    Michael Robinson

    Many of the historic spaces, such as the central stair, city manager’s office , and council chambers, needed little heavy-duty restoration work, but low-energy lighting and sprinklers were added throughout.

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    Michael Robinson

    Many of the historic spaces, such as the central stair, city manager’s office , and council chambers, needed little heavy-duty restoration work, but low-energy lighting and sprinklers were added throughout.

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    Michael Robinson

    Many of the historic spaces, such as the central stair, city manager’s office , and council chambers, needed little heavy-duty restoration work, but low-energy lighting and sprinklers were added throughout.

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    Michael Robinson

    While secreted in most of the building's historic spaces, the new high-efficiency HVAC system can be seen in a third-floor conference room and restroom.

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    Michael Robinson

    While secreted in most of the building's historic spaces, the new high-efficiency HVAC system can be seen in a third-floor conference room and restroom.

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    Often hidden from view, sustainable systems are used throughout the tower.

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    Michael Robinson

    WINDOW RESTORATION Historical Wood Windows Manufacturing -- historicalwoodwindows.com Inefficient windows were partly to blame for the old building’s poor thermal performance, and many of them leaked, as well. All the windows were removed and delivered by truck to Historical Wood Windows Manufacturing,a Kansas City, Mo., company that restored the sashes and installed new insulated glass. Entirely new reproduction windows were built for the second floor, whose original windows had been replaced earlier with ones that didn’t match.

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    Michael Robinson

    WATER CONSERVATION Sloan Valve Co. -- sloanvalve.com The combination of the LEED imperative and the desire to demonstrate water conservation as a public education tool led to the specification of dual-flush flushometers in the restrooms. The mode for liquid waste saves ½ gallon of water—about 30 percent—for each flush. In addition, the men’s rooms are equipped with waterless urinals.

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    Michael Robinson

    New metal handrails installed on the exterior stairs incorporate downlights that improve visibility at night. Accent lights at the base of the second-floor windows illuminate the building at night but had to be carefully shaded to be dark-sky compliant.

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    Many of the historic spaces, such as the central stair, city manager’s office , and council chambers, needed little heavy-duty restoration work, but low-energy lighting and sprinklers were added throughout.

Clearing the LEED Hurdle

Two of the renovation's most important goals were to make the building more energy efficient and to achieve LEED certification. Complete replacement of the HVAC system was the key to meeting both objectives. At the same time, says Chilton, this change presented one of the greatest challenges. "Even though the mechanical systems needed to be larger than the existing systems," he explains, "they had to have a minimal impact on the historic aesthetic of the building."

The existing heating and cooling system—a four-pipe system with fan-coil units placed around the perimeter on all floors—was fully removed. In its place, a new high-efficiency heat pump system was installed. The ceiling-mounted heat pump units are hidden above the ceiling tiles on the third and fourth floors but are clearly visible—a definite compromise—in the first- and second-floor offices, where the large air handlers and ducts have been painted to match the ceiling color.

In surpassing the 26-point minimum for LEED certification (this project earned 29 points), the city benefited from the building's location in a dense, inner-ring suburb with available bus transportation and limited parking capacity. Placing water-conserving fixtures in the restrooms earned additional points for water use reduction. The nature of the project also limited the amount of demolition that was required, so City Hall scored high on building reuse credits. The use of low-VOC adhesives, paints, and carpets was a no-brainer. And two additional points were earned through the city's purchase of renewable energy certificates that encourage green power.

Project: Renovation and Restoration of University City Hall, University City, Mo.
Architect: Trivers Associates, St. Louis—Andy Trivers (historical architect); Andrew Smith (project manager); Bill Chilton (project architect); Lawson Harris (project designer)
M/E/P, Fire Protection, and Structural Engineer and LEED Consultant William Tao & Associates—Bruce Levitt (principal-in-charge and LEED consultant); Sara Seagrist (mechanical engineer); Jim Kuba (electrical engineer); Greg Roth (plumbing engineer); Mark de la Fuente (lighting designer); Allan Seidel (fire protection engineer); Bill Manz, Mark Schell (structural engineers); Christine Ward (LEED administrator); Jerome Logan (commissioning agent)
Size: 33,495 square feet

Toolbox

Window Restoration
Historical Wood Windows Manufacturing, historicalwoodwindows.com
Inefficient windows were partly to blame for the old building's poor thermal performance, and many of them leaked, as well. All the windows were removed and delivered by truck to Historical Wood Windows Manufacturing, a Kansas City, Mo., company that restored the sashes and installed new insulated glass. Entirely new reproduction windows were built for the second floor, whose original windows had been replaced earlier with ones that didn't match.

Masonry Repointing
Superior Waterproofing & Restoration Co., superiorwaterproofing.com
What began as a small-scale job evolved into a comprehensive cleaning and repointing of the brick and limestone façades. In this process, the building is cleaned with a chemical mixture and high-pressure water. Then, all the mortar joints are ground out with diamond blades to a half-inch depth and replaced the old-fashioned way. Minor reglazing of failed terra cotta was also part of the job.

Water Conservation
Sloan Valve Co., sloanvalve.com
The combination of the LEED imperative and the desire to demonstrate water conservation as a public education tool led to the specification of dual-flush flushometers in the restrooms. The mode for liquid waste saves ½ gallon of water—about 30 percent—for each flush. In addition, the men's rooms are equipped with waterless urinals.