Frick Environmental Center Honored by AIA Committee on Architecture for Education


Frick Environmental Center Honored by AIA Committee on Architecture for Education

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Receives Design Award of Excellence for Living Building Challenge-targeted project in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, PA (April 16, 2018) – The Frick Environmental Center (FEC), designed by architecture firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, has received a 2018 Education Facility Design Award of Excellence. Sponsored by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on Architecture for Education, this national honor recognizes state-of-the-art learning environments, ranging from early childhood and K-12 schools to technical colleges, museums, and nature centers.

Completed in 2016, the FEC acts as a gateway to Pittsburgh’s historic Frick Park. The 15,600-square-foot building serves as a base for Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy’s educational programs, which provides the public with nature-related learning and outdoor exploration throughout the park’s 644-acres. The project serves as a ‘living classroom,’ providing families, students and learners of all ages with hands-on experimental environmental education.

“We are thrilled to be a recipient of this prestigious award. The Frick Environmental Center is a vibrant, welcoming facility that educates and impacts on many levels,” said Camila Rivera-Tinsley, Director of Education for Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.

The FEC is certified LEED Platinum and recognized by the Green Building Alliance for its role in a decade-long vision of incorporating the world’s highest sustainability standards into a free-admission, municipally-owned building. The center is also working toward Living Building Challenge certification, widely recognized as the world’s most rigorous proven performance standard for buildings.

“The Center’s pursuit of Living Building Challenge has reinforced the philosophy within our practice that sustainable design is not only the right thing to do ethically, but also an opportunity to make a richer and more evocative architecture,” remarked Patricia Culley, Senior Associate and Project Architect for the FEC.

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson collaborated with construction manager PJ Dick and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy to design the Center. The building uses 40-percent less energy than comparable benchmarks, and the energy used is offset entirely via solar and geothermal capture. The building is also designed for net-zero water use, with rainwater harvested for non- potable use and wastewater processing taking place on site.

The Education Facility Design Awards provides an opportunity to engage in critical evaluation and experimentation in the context of clients and their needs. Awards are given to projects that represent exemplary practice in the following areas of educational facility design: enhancement of educational programming; integration of functional needs and aesthetic considerations while respecting the surrounding community and context; the planning and design process; showing an understanding of the connection between the built and natural environment; and demonstrating an integrated and holistic approach to sustainability.

This year’s award recipients were recognized at the 2018 AIA Committee on Architecture for Education Spring Conference, in Baltimore, on April 13.

About Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Founded in 1965, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson is a national architecture practice noted for elegant and humane design, ranging from modest houses to large academic, civic, cultural, and corporate buildings. To date, the firm has received more than 675 regional, national, and international awards for design, including three AIA Top Ten Green Project Awards and the AIA Architecture Firm Award. The firm is well known for its work with Apple, designing stores such as the iconic Fifth Avenue cube in New York City and flagship stores worldwide. The practice has also created headquarters for Pixar, Adobe and Square, and city halls in Seattle and Newport Beach, CA. For more information please visit

About Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy was founded in December 1996 by a group of citizens concerned with the deteriorating conditions of Pittsburgh’s historic city parks. A nonprofit organization, the Parks Conservancy works closely with the City of Pittsburgh under an official public-private partnership agreement to restore and improve the city’s park system to its full potential. To date, the Parks Conservancy has raised $100 million toward park improvements. The Parks Conservancy works with thousands of volunteers annually, has completed 17 major park improvement projects, and is active in 22 regional, neighborhood, and community parks.