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Chandler’s Catalyst

©2013 This excerpt taken from the article of the same name which appeared in High Performing Buildings, vol. 6, no. 2, Spring 2013.

Jeff Stanton, AIA, and Jon Silhol, P.E. 

About the Author
Jeff Stanton, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, is Vice President and Sustainability Director at SmithGroupJJR in Phoenix. Jon Silhol, P.E., LEED AP BD+C, is a mechanical engineer at SmithGroupJJR in Phoenix. 

This water feature at the southern end of the courtyard allows water from the cooling towers to cascade down a wall into a pool.  The basin is piped to the condenser water pumps.

Before construction of the new Chandler (Ariz.) City Hall, some residents avoided downtown south of the historic core, which consisted largely of abandoned structures, deteriorating parking lots and inappropriate zoning (such as an adult bookstore). Despite this, city leaders took a radical step for a typical suburban community in the Phoenix area by locating the complex in the heart of downtown Chandler with the goal of bringing density back to the city center and catalyzing future development.

At the same time, this seat of local government also lacked an identity as many of its departments were spread across various facilities. The new complex brought these entities together into a single facility, creating a community center that could generate pride for its citizens. The complex is not only a reflection of its community, but also serves its needs.

Implementation of energy and water reduction strategies, the ability of the employees to connect to the natural environment through views and daylighting, employee engagement of their own thermal environment, improved indoor air quality and re-engagement with the community all contribute to defining Chandler City Hall as a high performance facility. The project has spurred the establishment of 10 new downtown businesses, which created 125 jobs, and additional mixed-use developments are planned.

Project Description

The low- to mid-rise government complex covers two city blocks and is bisected by a street. A five-story office tower and two one-story buildings connected to the tower occupy the north block. The tower houses city departments, while one-story buildings contain an art gallery, council chambers and a television studio. The south block is devoted to a three-level parking structure and two one-story buildings, which contain a neighborhood redevelopment office and a print center.

Building Envelope

The project demonstrates strategies to reduce a building’s overall energy footprint. Situated in a cooling-dominated environment, the first line of defense is the building envelope.

Passive shading strategies along with a high performance envelope help knock out much of the solar heat gain. The office tower is oriented on an east-west axis to maximize north and south exposures while minimizing east and west exposures. The entire facility incorporates cool roof technology, high performance glazing and well-insulated walls and a roof with R-values of R-19 and R-30, respectively.

Computer analysis helped determine optimum spacing and dimensions for shade fins that were installed along the south façade of the tower. This design blocks direct sun in the summer, but allows for some penetration during the winter.

The western façade of the office tower features an intricate and artistic shading system that contributes to reducing building energy consumption, but also serves as a civic art piece. This structure consists of more than 1,800 perforated stainless steel metal panels, or “pixels,” that individually hang from above, allowing them to swing with the wind.

Citation: High Performing Buildings, vol. 6, no. 2, Spring 2013

Read the Full Article

  • Read the entire article on HPBMagazine.org.
  • Free print and digital subscriptions of High Performing Buildings are sent  to qualified architects, facility managers and building owners.  Get yours here.