Award Winner 2007:

Philip Merrill Environmental Center

Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Annapolis, MD

The Philip Merrill Environmental Center houses the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's 90-person staff. The building features open office workstations for all staff members, including the president, to promote interaction and collaboration. The layout also supports sustainable design strategies such as daylighting and natural ventilation, while providing views of the bay for every employee.

Outstanding Features

The Merrill Center has an array of resource-conserving features that both support CBF's environmental mission and facilitate on-site education. About 73 percent of the building's water comes from rainwater stored in three exposed collection cisterns. Material from composting toilets is used to fertilize the grounds. A bio-retention garden in the parking lot uses carefully selected plants to filter storm water runoff. While these high-profile technologies attract much of the visitor attention, the building shows a commitment to both leading edge and good-sense green design strategies. View the project submittal (pdf) >>

Survey Results

Very high scores in the general satisfaction category place the Philip Merrill Center in the 99th percentile of all buildings surveyed by CBE to date. In addition to this impressive ranking, the building ranks in the 99th and 90th percentiles for the important areas of air quality and lighting, respectively. View the survey results (pdf) >>

Jury Comments

"The Philip Merrill Environmental Center synergistically wove an environmental approach into its design. It embodies an approach that addressed its region, and is an example of design excellence."

"The building has been widely published as an example of sustainable design, and appears to live up to its reputation with the results of the survey and the measured energy use intensity."

Project Team

Architect & Interior Design: SmithGroup, Inc.
Mechanical Engineer: SmithGroup, Inc.
Structural Engineer: Shemro Engineering, Inc.
Civil Engineer: Greenman-Pedersen, Inc.
Landscape Architect: Karene Motivans
Contractor: Clark Construction Group

Additional Information

Philip Merrill website
CBE Mixed Mode website

CBE Case Study: The Human Factors of Sustainability: A Post Occupancy Evaluation of the Philip Merrill Environmental Center (pdf)

Images Prakash Patel |

Livable Buildings Award

The Philip Merrill building was sited to provide numerous views to the bay.

Livable Buildings Award

Daylighting features and rain cisterns are expressed on the building exterior.

Livable Buildings Award

Wooden porches provide shade and enclosure.