The WaterPlace building has reinvigorated the SE Liberty Street corridor in downtown Salem. Previously home to a dilapidated restaurant, motel and small commercial office building, the site had tremendous opportunity to provide a showcase for habitat restoration and sustainable architecture. The site concept included placing a new building along Liberty Street and restoring the riparian corridor along the Pringle Creek.
Façade materials, such as architectural precast concrete panels, curtain wall glazing with integrated sunscreens, and metal panels, were used to reinforce the building’s connection with its creek-side site. Juxtaposed with structural steel, reclaimed walnut from declining black walnut trees, create warmth in the exterior and interior lobby areas, and local reclaimed barn wood was used on the roof terrace walls and in tenant build-outs.
Recycling and re-use have been hallmarks of the WaterPlace building from the beginning. Prior to demolition, furniture and other materials from the existing restaurant and motel were donated to the Salvation Army. During demolition, concrete from the existing parking lot and building foundations were crushed and used as fill material for the new development. Throughout the new building, 23% of materials (by cost) include recycled content. During construction, a waste management plan was developed and implemented that resulted in the recycling or reuse of 80% of construction waste.
The design of WaterPlace addresses energy conservation in several key ways. First, interior lighting demands are greatly reduced by an abundance of fenestration and natural light. Over 95% of the building’s occupied interior spaces have natural light and over 75% of spaces have window views. Second, careful detailing during design and construction has resulted in a building with a highly insulated and tight envelope that provides 24% energy savings over a baseline building of similar size. Through the use of careful design and innovative fixtures, WaterPlace uses 34% less water compared to a baseline building. Finally, WaterPlace provides incentives for building occupants to use energy-efficient modes of transportation. Seven parking spots are designated solely for fuel efficient vehicles, and bike racks and a shower room encourage tenants to ride their bicycle.
The WaterPlace building enjoys an intimate connection with adjacent Pringle Creek. An important part of the overall site strategy included a riparian restoration that promotes native plant and wildlife habitats. In order to protect and maintain these habitats, an on-site bioswale was created that captures 100% of the site’s storm water runoff, reducing demand on municipal sewers. A small green roof on the site further reduces runoff. And Xeriscaping eliminates the need for a permanent irrigation system.
Prior to receiving LEED Platinum certification, WaterPlace had already become a prominent paragon of sustainability in downtown Salem. Beautification of the existing site and riparian restoration provide clear examples – right across from City Hall and at the gateway to Downtown – of the power of a green development to enhance the landscape and the community. Large windows and sweeping views of trees, wildlife and the city itself site encourage an appreciation for the harmony between the natural and architectural landscapes.