Philly's Top Secret Green Building Wins AIA Award, Thanks to Waterless Urinals
All during the recent Urinals-gate, I heard rumors that a certain city-owned police forensic lab had quietly installed environmentally-friendly waterless urinals, even though they are prohibited by Philadelphia's plumbing code. I called the lab to check on the story, but was told the matter was top secret. So guess what! It's true. The building just won a national award from the American Institute of Architects for being one of the Top Ten Green Projects of 2006. Not for the urinals, of course. The city is really going to have to come clean now.
Philadelphia's Forensic Science Center is located in a former art deco school building in an undisclosed location somewhere in the city. (*see below) The interior is fitted out like a typical science lab, with lab tables and ventilation hoods. Because of all the air-handling requirements, it's especially difficult to design those sorts of buildings according to the U.S. Green Building Council's guidelines. But the designers - Croxton Collaborative Architects and Cecil Baker & Associates - succeeded spectacularly. Despite a tight budget, the AIA jury said it was one of the best buildings it reviewed. No doubt those "high efficiency plumbing fixtures to minimize water consumption" - ie. waterless urinals - had something to do with it. It's going to be difficult for the Department of Licenses & Inspections to insist that the Comcast Tower remain the only test site for the technology when the city itself has been running its own intensive tests for months. So far, no police forensic experts have suffered any harm.
(*This is a meant as a little joke. I'm told by sources that the lab is in North Philly, near Temple University.)