The Green Architecture Behind Tonight's Presidential Debate

Posted by Yasha Wallin

Tonight, during the third and final presidential debate, all eyes will be on the candidates as they go head to head in Boca Raton, Florida. Given that focus, most people probably won't be paying attention to the actual sitethe Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center at Lynn University. A pity, given the building's sleek design and green architecture highlights. Conceptualized by New Haven, Connecticut-based Newman Architects, a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, the 750-seat auditorium and arts center where Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will spar was designed with a number of sustainable construction practices.



But just what exactly constitutes a "green building?" For one, Newman Architects used recycled materials during construction, such as steel reinforcement, and large and small aggregates. The building was primarily built using tilt-up concrete construction, a method that means the majority of the work is done on-site, lowering transportation costs and environmental impact, increasing the speed of construction, energy efficiency, and making a longer-lasting building.

Supplementary materials like limes sludge and silica fumes were also accounted for, keeping these items out of landfills. A ‘tree bank’ was also established—for each tree displaced by building construction (in many cases, say the architects, they were diseased trees), a new, healthy tree was planted on campus. Local labor and local construction practices were employed; and energy-efficient lighting including the use of natural daylight in public lobby areas, pre-function rooms, and offices were incorporated.



So while the candidates might not touch on alternative energy and green building as much as we'd like while squaring off, at least for tonight, someone's got sustainability covered.

Photos courtesy of Newman Architects and Robert Benson Photography