UA Little Rock’s Windgate Center for Art and Design named Innovative LEED Project by U.S. Green Building Council

Windgate Center for Art and Design (January 2018). Photo by Lonnie Timmons III.

The Windgate Center for Art and Design will be recognized at the 2019 Green Tie Awards presented by the Arkansas chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. 

The Green Tie Awards are part of the 15th annual Sustainable Arkansas conference to be held Thursday, Sept. 19, at Robinson Center, 426 W. Markham in Little Rock. A reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by awards and dinner at 6:30 p.m. 

The Windgate Center will receive the Innovative LEED Project award for central Arkansas. The 64,600-square-foot facility, which opened in 2018, was designed by Little Rock-based WER Architects and constructed by Nabholz and Doyne companies to achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver rating for sustainability and resource-efficiency. 

“The Department of Art and Design is thrilled to have achieved the LEED silver certification,” said Thomas Clifton, chair of the Department of Art and Design. “Meeting LEED certification was a goal for all involved in the project from the beginning, and we’re happy to have been able to contribute.”

The benefits of the sustainable design were immediately tangible to building visitors, John Greer, principal and vice president of WER Architects explained.

“During an event in the building shortly after it opened for student use, a student with severe allergies approached me to tell me that her allergy symptoms disappeared when she was working in the building. The air filtration systems within the student work areas were exceeding our expectations by not only providing a safe environment for the students to work in, but an interior environment better than a typical Arkansas spring day,” Greer said. “The costs of the HVAC and exhaust systems in this building type are greater than a typical campus building, but when it comes to a student’s safety and well-being, that cost is justifiable.”

The Windgate Center has helped position UA Little Rock as the center of art and design education in Arkansas. The facility includes a fine arts foundry, as well as areas for art history and education, blacksmithing, ceramics, digital fabrication, graphic design, illustration, metal fabrication, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpting and woodworking. 

In addition to university classes, the Windgate Center is utilized for workshops offered by UA Little Rock partners, including the Arkansas Arts Center and its museum school, the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub, the Art Connection, and the THEA Foundation. 

The 2019 Sustainable Arkansas Conference brings together experienced design professionals to share best practices and case studies that address current challenges and opportunities surrounding building performance. 

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