Heifer International’s community impact starts with giving one animal to one family, or “passing on the gift”. Like water drops generate ripples that flow outward from the impact point, the gift creates “concentric rings of influence” radiating through a village, allowing sustainable methods taught to the original family to be passed on to others as animal’s offspring are gifted. Polk Stanley designed every inch of this project to exemplify Heifer’s mission, express its sustainable attributes for educational purposes, and allow all employees to work as equals in a broader world circle.

Sustainable concepts distinguish this building and are extensions of Heifer’s methodology to end world hunger: education comes through environmental connections. The site, among the largest brownfield recoveries in the state, was once bisected by a rail yard. Existing warehouse masonry structures were crushed and used for site fill, bricks were reclaimed for paving, and 97% of materials were recycled. Reclaimed material savings paid for the entire demolition.

Taking advantage of placement next to the $150 million Clinton Presidential Library’s 30 acre park and river, property edges are intentionally blurred, positioning both projects in a combined 60 acre green belt.

The ringed site physically expresses the ripple effect of passing on the gift, also initiating the Headquarters’ layered planning. Crafted to maximize sunlight and rainwater and avoid pollutants, the headquarters was designed to see a 55% energy saving over conventional buildings. Researching how Heifer builds animal shelters around the world uncovered a simple elegance in constructing just what is needed, leading to exposing all systems as part of an honest story that celebrates beauty in functional elements.

A narrow 62′ floor width and east / west orientation enable natural light penetration to each floor’s center, giving all 472 employees light and views; most enjoy the best northern views to the River, Park, and Library. An inverted heavy timber roof directs rainwater through exposed collection piping to a tower for “gray water” reuse within the building. The water tower, wrapped with a stair in glass, forces water to move as people move, creating an iconic symbol for environmental stewardship. Even after ten years since its completion, the project continues to perform as intended and be a model for sustainable design.

While the building has been named a National AIA Honor Award winner, an AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) Top Ten Green Project and achieved LEED “Platinum” Certification, the most important result is its service as a beacon of hope in Heifer’s quest to end world hunger.

According to architectmagazine.com; onegreenplanet.org. Source of photos: internet