Fentress Architects: Pioneering Sustainable Architecture Since the Early 1990s
Fentress Architects was founded in 1980 on the heels of two significant energy crises: the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 and the Iranian Revolution of 1978. Among the many innovations and movements precipitated by these events is the modern sustainable architecture and green building movement. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Energy Committee was founded in 1973. Later, in 1990, the AIA Committee on the Environment was founded.
Within 10 years of its founding, Fentress had won several prominent commissions. The following contributed substantively to the sustainable architecture movement:
- Denver International Airport’s Passenger Terminal Complex: The imaginative roof pays visual homage to the majestic Rocky Mountains. It also utilizes the site’s more than 3,000 annual hours of sunshine to provide exceptional energy savings and biophilic benefits for travelers and staff alike.
- Natural Resources Building for the State of Washington: The Natural Resource Building was a forerunner in the development of indoor air quality standards and the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED program. “The facilities will provide the public and employees an enjoyable, energy efficient and healthy work environment using new air quality design requirements, which will lead the way for future standards in our nation.” — K. Wendy Holden, Former Director, State of Washington Department of GSA
- National Wildlife Art Museum: Irregular lines and the use of native stone allow the museum to embody the spirit of its delicate site and essence of the Jackson community, while setting new standards in quality and architectural design sensitivity for the area. The warm, humanistic design expertly responds to important challenges including developmental pressures and their impact on the natural environment and plant and animal communities.
Since the launch of USGBC’s LEED Program in 1998, Fentress Architects has designed over 50 LEED-certified buildings that comprise nearly 10 million square feet, including:
- California Department of Education Headquarters: In 2006, three years after achieving LEED Gold, the California DOE Headquarters became the first building in California, and second largest building in the world, to be awarded LEED EB Platinum certification.
- Green Square Complex in Raleigh, North Carolina: With a 10,000-square-foot green roof, a system that eliminates stormwater runoff—North Carolina’s number one cause of water pollution—and so much more, Green Square Complex became North Carolina’s first LEED Platinum facility.
- Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC): Terminal B was the first entirely new passenger terminal west of the Mississippi River to become LEED Silver Certified. Terminal A is “self-certified,” and the rental car facility, or ConRAC, follwed “best practices” for green building, including a roof-mounted 3.4-acre, 1.1-megawatt solar array.
- Terminal C at Orlando International Airport (MCO): Terminal C is on target to become the first new LEED v4.1 certified passenger terminal in America.
At Fentress Architects, we believe we have a responsibility to the next generation—and future generations—to effect positive change on our natural environment. So, in addition to being seasoned LEED-certification experts, Fentress team members are also highly skilled and knowledge in the burgeoning areas of:
- Net Zero Architecture: including net zero energy, net zero carbon.
- Regenerative Design: including ILFI’s Living Building Challenge
- Sustainable Landscape Practices: including Green Business Certification Inc.’s Sustainable SITES Initiative (SITES)