A Greener Place to Grow



Built in 2006, our 36,000-square-foot Production Greenhouse earned LEED® Platinum for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance in 2012, becoming the first in the world to achieve this certification and one of approximately 20 buildings across the globe to reach the Platinum level. In this energy-efficient work space, the temperature, light levels and humidity are all Argus computer controlled, allowing the production staff to maintain 16 different climate-controlled environments within eight ranges, enabling us to grow a wider variety of plants than was ever possible before.


Urban Agriculture


The project team decided to restore the green space to native habitat that would exemplify educational functionality. As such, the green roof was designed as a permaculture demonstration garden. Additionally, there is a rooftop edible garden on campus that serves as a working demonstration model of urban farming.Crops harvested from the garden are used both in the on site cafe and in education programming.

Phipps is able to introduce the benefits of urban agriculture to thousands of visitors annually, and the garden also serves as a model for Homegrown, the urban outreach program. Homegrown spreads the organization’s message externally by installing raised bed vegetable gardens, and providing mentorship and educational resources to underserved neighborhoods.

Biophilia Advantages


The concept of “biophilia”,  as coined by Erich Fromm and popularized by biologist E.O. Wilson, is defined as “the innately emotional affiliation of human beings to other living organisms”. This notion is an integral component of the green building toolkit. In the interest of making its audience truly embrace the idea of green buildings as beautiful and inspiring places in which to live, work and play, Phipps developed the BETA (Biophilia Enhanced Through Art) Project, a new art exhibit staged throughout the building and surrounding landscape.

Carefully curated and installed in collaboration with SmithGroupJJR and art experts from MoxBox, the BETA Project brings a new dimension of sensory engagement to the CSL, creating dozens of opportunities for visitors to experience nature’s beauty through the lens of the artist. 

General Information

Center for Sustainable Landscapes at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Status: Certified 'Living'
Date Certified: 12/3/13
Location: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Typology: Building
Occupant Type: Office, Art Gallery, Classroom, Landscape


Project Area: 115,434 sf
Building Footprint: 10,700 sf
Start of construction: 11/2010
Start of Occupancy Period: 12/2012
Owner occupied: Yes
Number of occupants: 50
Number of visitors: ~150 per day
Typical hours of operation:                              M-Th, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm; F, 8:30 am – 10:00 pm; Sa-Su, 9:30 am – 5:00 pm

Project Team

Owner: Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Geotechnical: Civil & Environmental Consultants Inc. (CEC)
Civil: Civil & Environmental Consultants Inc. (CEC)
Landscape: Andropogon
Structural: Atlantic Engineering Services
Architectural: The Design Alliance Architects
Interior Design: The Design Alliance Architects
MEP: CJL Engineering