2012 SPA Winners

This year’s Grand Prize and Runner Up winners to the Sustainable Practices Award sponsored by Zeftron nylon embody the true essence of the award. Culled from numerous high-caliber entries, both winning projects showcase the best in sustainable design and innovation.

Below is information on the Grand Prize Winner, The South Los Angeles Animal Shelter completed by architectural and design firm RA-DA, and the Runner Up Winner, The Links Foundation’s corporate headquarters from the firm of R. McGhee & Associates.

A list of the top 10 finalist entries is also included.



Grand Prize Winner: The South Los Angeles Animal Shelter

Completed in October 2012, the South Los Angeles Animal Shelter is a civic building open to the public. Unlike most animal shelters dominated by concrete and non-descript design elements, this facility was purposefully designed to comfort the animals and enhance the experience of the visitors. The facility’s inviting environment enables visitors stay longer and receive animal education and training, which reduces animal returns to the shelter. It also assists in the ultimate goal of reducing animal euthanasia.

Sustainable Notables:
As a LEED Gold building, the facility consisted of several sustainable elements, including, but not limited to:

  • Reduced power usage with the use of smart day-lighting systems
  • Reduced water demand with the use of low flow fixtures, smart laundry machines and drought tolerant plants
  • Reduced water pollution with the use of planters and “hydrodynamic separators” that filters the water before it returns into the ground or the storm system
  • Reduced the “heat-island” effect with the use of trees and plant-life to shade concrete areas
  • Features an “energy smart” roof that reflects heat away from the building
  • Used high efficiency in-ground radiant heating for the comfort of the animals and the staff
  • Use of natural light to maintain a healthy environment for the staff and the animals
  • Reduced air pollutants and installed sensors to monitor air quality in the ventilation systems
  • Developed an “Indoor Air Quality Management Plan” to protect the environment for the construction workers and the future inhabitants of the building (both human and animal)
  • Used recycled materials and low-emitting materials for reduced VOC

Innovation Notables:
The exterior of the building was intentionally designed to imply the essence of the building. The “skin” of the building is made of precast composite materials that run repetitively in two rows around the entire facility, thus replicating the scaled skin of an animal. Simple, versatile and cost-effective, the panels change color as the upper and lower bands move in and out to create overhangs at entry ways and provide shade at glazed areas. The panels transition from a white concrete to a bright green stucco and then to a duller green stucco as they move in and out of plane.

Additionally, the kennels are cleverly oriented along a mini-urban grid punctuated by small gardens and filled with drought tolerant plants that create a green blanket over all the concrete surfaces. The kennels are organized so that none face each other, mitigating the sound effect of the animals.


Runner Up Winner: The Links Foundation Corporate Headquarters


The Links Foundation,the philanthropic arm of The Links Inc., an organization of professional women of color located throughout the United States, the District of Columbia and the commonwealth of the Bahamas, commissioned R. McGhee & Associates to modernize and programmatically integrate two historic buildings for their new headquarters. Located in the Shaw historic neighborhood of Washington, D.C., the buildings’ dissimilar, deficient structural framing systems and floor levels of varying elevations presented several challenges. Additionally, the firm faced strict historic preservation protections, and the Foundation required a LEED Silver certification.

Sustainable Notables
Although required to achieve LEED Silver certification status, the project actually achieved Gold. The Links Foundation is the first African American professional organization to have achieved a LEED Gold certified building from the US Green Building Council. The facility consisted of several sustainable elements, including, but not limited to:

  • The use (and reuse) of sustainable materials
  • Reuse of 60% of the existing building
  • Diversion of 91% of the construction and demolition materials from landfills
  • Use of sustainable finishes and materials such as: steel beams with a high recycled content, bamboo flooring, low-VOC paint, FSC-compliant products for new wood structural elements
  • Use of natural materials such as linoleum and rubber used in place of VCT
  • Energy efficiency roofing materials
  • Optimized use of natural light with the use of historically-accurate, energy efficient windows
  • Use of LED light fixtures
  • High efficiency mechanical systems

Innovation Notables
The project design involved extensive interior and exterior work: programming, reconfiguration of the two buildings, new and repaired structural systems, new MPE systems, new circulation to accommodate different floor levels, and the restoration of historic facades (including replication of lost building elements). The design resolution inserts a central circulation spine that allows for a seamless, elegant merger of the two buildings while maintaining key historic elements. This circulation spine allows for access from both floor plates to the building’s core elements: eighteen offices, a library archive, support spaces, and a formal conference room that opens to the main entry.

Additional innovative design activities included a Sustainable Design Education program created by the Links, a two year commitment to support Green Power initiatives and the implementation of a Green Housekeeping program.

  2012 Top 10 Finalists    
  The Forest Park Medical Center Phase III Surgical Hospital
(Dallas, Texas)
Ascension Group Architects
  The USF Health Center for Advanced Medical Learning & Simulation
(Tampa, Fla.)
The Beck Group
  Erma Lowe Hall
(Fort Worth, Texas)
The Beck Group
  Student Services Addition Building
(Glen Ellyn, Ill.)
Loebl Schlossman and Hackl
  Media Organization Sales Campus
(New York, N.Y.)
Mancini Duffy/TSC
  Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (Washington, D.C.)
Millar + Associates
  SmithGroupJJR Corporate Office
(Washington, D.C.)
  Port of Long Beach Pier G Administration Building
(Long Beach, Calif.)
Tate Snyder Kimsey Caldwell Architect
  Port of Long Beach Maintenance and Repair Building
(Long Beach, Calif.)
Tate Snyder Kimsey Caldwell Architects
  The Hauser Group Corporate Office
(St. Charles, Ill.)
The Hauser Group