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Best Projects Green Facility: Clock Shadow Building

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Milwaukee's $6-million Clock Shadow Building is a timely exercise in sustainable design, its cream brickwork arriving by way of a salvage yard, its wood siding by way of old pickle vats.

Photo Courtesy of Daniel Andera Photography
Milwaukee's $6-million Clock Shadow Building was designed as a radically sustainable building, albeit one that could be repeated in other communities.
Photo Courtesy of Daniel Andera Photography
In addition to incorporating 27 geothermal wells, Clock Shadow purports to be the first Milwaukee building to capture storm water for flushing toilets.
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While working on the facility, which houses retail and clinic space, carpenters spent hours repairing hardware on doors salvaged from an old medical facility. They also puzzled out ways of combining the doors with old masonry planks to create restroom partitions.

In all, some 25% of building materials were salvaged from regional locations, the goal being to construct a "radically sustainable" building, albeit one that could be repeated in other communities.

The approach required project team members to familiarize themselves with local suppliers, then store the materials they purchased off site until they were needed.

As plans unfolded, designers and builders found themselves visiting and revisiting salvage yards to meet unique design criteria. One such excursion yielded rusted steel panels that imbue the facade with the weathered patina its developer envisioned. Recycled wood likewise imbues the facade with the warmth and familiarity inherent in aged materials, according to project team members.

Commitment to sustainability was more than skin deep. In addition to incorporating 27 geothermal wells, Clock Shadow purports to be the first Milwaukee building to capture stormwater for flushing toilets, a feat that involved extensive negotiations among team members and local code officials.

Elsewhere, team members transformed the roof into an urban garden and gathering space for yoga.

To meet a goal of zero construction waste, team members precisely calculated material dimensions so they could anticipate the amount of scrap funneling back into the project. In one instance, remaining cypress wood from the pickle barrels was incorporated into a decorative wall feature in the lobby.

In all, project team members diverted 99% of waste from landfills while weaving together materials they believe fit seamlessly with the textures of the building's urban surroundings.

Clock Shadow Building, Milwaukee Key Players

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