Police Station

In Chicago, a city where the government has gone to great pains to incorporate green roofs and other environmental systems into its civic buildings, Behnisch is converting an existing police building—the sort of dilapidated late-1970s/early-1980s structure so many civic governments are stuck with—into a model for further green design in the city. The plan encloses a courtyard between the detention center and the station house, creating an atrium that acts as an exhaust system and light-infiltration point for the entire building.

LOCATION Chicago

CLIENT City of Chicago

COMPLETION 2008 (estimated)

GROSS 142,000 square feet


Mill Street Lofts

In a long-neglected industrial area of central Los Angeles, Behnisch Architects is creating 120 loft units—eight types rather than a repetition of a single layout—over a total of 11 floors. The Mill Street Lofts were created for the L.A. investment company Linear City, which specializes in the reuse of industrial buildings for private apartments. The lofts are a test of the market's tolerance for sacrifice in the name of sustainability. Early designs did away with air conditioning in favor of natural ventilation and used geothermal heat through a radiant slab. In the end, the apartments will be A/C-optional with sun shades to regulate heat. Regardless, the developer aims for a LEED-silver rating and intends to market the units to L.A.'s environmentally sensitive intelligentsia.

LOCATION Los Angeles

CLIENT Linear City

COMPLETION 2007

GROSS 200,000 square feet


Cultural District Riverfront Development

This Pittsburgh project is a $460 million green master plan for a mixed-use neighborhood of seven residential buildings, a street of townhouses, a four-star hotel, and a performing arts venue—all LEED-certified. The complex incorporates a variety of public parks and green spaces, some set within the buildings themselves. Behnisch's two offices, as part of a design team including other architects, will be working not only on sustainable elements inside the structures themselves but also on orienting the master plan to the river, establishing park and greenway access to what was once a disposal system for Pittsburgh industry. “In any city you can think of, the river has at one point been overlooked as an asset,” Jantzen says. “In Pittsburgh, this is the attempt to turn that around.”

LOCATION Pittsburgh

CLIENT Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

COMPLETION 2009 (estimated)

GROSS six acres