A lot of folks are rightfully raving over the Burchfield Penny Art Center that opened ten days ago, as well they should. I was among the thousands who visited the museum the opening weekend and it's a neat building filled with a lot of neat art. Even I realize that. Me, who considers Three Stooges films to be fine art.
Well, they are.
But I digress.
What I like best about the new museum is its green building design. Not many people in this town are building to LEED standards, but the museum has. Director Ted Pietrzak expects the building will receive a silver certificate the early part of next year from the U.S. Green Building Council.
"We'll be the first art museum in the state to be (LEED) certified," Pietrzak said.
Well, good for us.
What makes for a LEED museum?
In Burchfield Penny's case, it starts outdoors with a white roof that reflects sun and heat and a stormwater retention system that allows for absorption into the Scajaquada Creek ecosystem.
Indoors, there's lot of natural light and sophisticated systems to manage power consumption. There are water-saving features, including waterless urinals. Radiant heating. Recycled building materials have been used, including flooring.
Kudos to the Burchfield Penny board, Buffalo State College and the architects, Gwathmey Siegel, out of NYC.
What was the motivation to go LEED?
"We just believed it was the right thing to do," Pietrzak said.
Then there was the inspiration of Charles Burchfield, whose collection is the centerpiece of the museum.
"Burchfield was a naturalist. It seemed appropriate," Pietrzak said.
Next up on the LEED front is the ongoing construction of a Center for Information, Research and Community Programs at Daemen College. The 45,000-square-foot building, going up on Main Street, is going to be both green and high -ech. It should open in January.