The Ray and Maria Stata Center has won a Grand Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies.
Judith Nitsch Engineering of Boston, which worked on the site design for the Stata, was honored at the council's 39th annual gala in Washington, D.C., on April 11.
The ACEC's annual Engineering Excellence Awards recognize innovation, expertise and ingenuity in engineering achievement. The council's top honor is its Grand Conceptor Award, which this year went to an Everglades restoration project. The council gave out seven Grand Awards and 16 Honor Awards.
Designed by architect Frank Gehry, the Stata Center includes many environmentally friendly features. To complement these features, the site's landscape design used a "biomimicry" concept that reintroduces natural systems such as varied topography and vegetation into the built environment.
Judith Nitsch Engineering designed the infrastructure systems that made this concept both feasible and functional. Stormwater runoff is naturally treated through a series of constructed wetlands, and some of the stormwater is harvested for toilet flushing, which saves water and sewer costs.
Last year, Simmons Hall, the first major building in the country to use a mixed-mode system for ventilation, received an Honor Award from the ACEC.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 4, 2005 (download PDF).