Striving for LEED certification, the designers of Christina Crescent fell short. Despite that, the project is an unequivocal success.
Christina Crescent is the name given the project that saw a multi-parcel brownfield site along Wilmington, DE’s waterfront replaced by a 270,000 sq. ft., six-story office building and stand-alone five-story parking garage. The two structures are joined by a park plaza with a sunken garden spanned by a pedestrian bridge.
Christina Crescent was originally intended to achieve the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. But according to Paul Guggenberger, project manager for Moeckel Carbonell Associates and design architect for Christina Crescent, “shifting economic circumstances” left them short of their goal. In short, cost cutting made LEED certification impossible, although several notable green building elements remain.
For starters, the project’s location—a city brownfield site with established access to public transportation—is sustainable. The shared park plaza will be planted with regional, native vegetation needing little irrigation. The building will have a pleasing indoor work environment thanks to strategic daylighting and good views. “The way we sited the building is beautiful for solar gain,” Guggenberger has said. The curve of the building matches the curve of the sun, maximizing daylighting opportunities and minimizing the harsh glare of the eastern and western sun.
Most prominent among the remaining green building elements is the storm water management system. Run-off from the building will be largely retained by a green roof and the parking garage will utilize an underground recharge system for its storm water. Site-wide runoff is captured in an innovative bioswale included as part of the public plaza—a method also used at Wilmington’s celebrated Brandywine Village Green redevelopment.
The bridge crossing the sunken garden was originally intended to be stainless steel, though galvanized steel components were eventually used instead. Those components included deck grating from Ohio Gratings Inc. of Canton, OH. The company’s 1-1/2” x 3/16” high heel-proof dovetail grating with an AlGrip surface and recessed anchor blocks was chosen for the project.