NASA Sustainability Base featured in gb&d



Excerpt from

No other name is as synonymous with the modern day sustainability movement as William McDonough. The architect, author, designer, and founding principal of William McDonough + Partners is world-renowned for his creation of cradle-to-cradle design, an economic, industrial, and social framework developed with chemist Michael Braungart that helps create systems that are both energy efficient and waste free. So, when planning began on the new NASA Sustainability Base—the agency’s new facility at the entrance of the Ames Research Center at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California—no one seemed a better fit than McDonough + Partners. NASA wanted the facility to showcase its culture of innovation and exceed LEED Platinum standards. The result is unlike any government building ever created.


The 50,000-square-foot, crescent-shaped structure was inspired by the wind tunnels of the NASA Ames Campus and images of NASA satellites, McDonough says. Aesthetically, the building responds to a half-century of NASA innovation, but its systems also were the result of a close collaboration between the architect and client, with the structure featuring NASA innovations originally engineered for space travel. For example, the base’s intelligent control technology was developed as part of NASA’s Aviation Safety Program to provide guidance control for aircrafts. In the Sustainability Base, the technology will be used to achieve building zone control with sensors providing real-time data about the airflow through the building.


A majority of the materials within the building are recyclable or recycled, salvaged, or rapidly renewable, but the structure also was designed for disassembly, so it could easily be dismantled or repaired in the case of a large seismic event. An external braced frame made of lightweight insulated metal was chosen to reduce the amount of steel in the building, and it also reduced the amount of material needed for construction. McDonough + Partners used a rigorous materials selection process for the Sustainability Base with Cradle to Cradle-certified products being chosen when it was cost effective. Materials designed for technical and biological cycles and materials that are beneficial to human health and ecological health were also chosen in every instance.

Read the full article here.

More information on the NASA Sustainability Base can be found here.