ArchiCool: The Bullitt Center
The Bullitt Center
Seattle, Washington, USA
The Miller Hull Partnership
Tours of the Bullitt Center are by reservation only. Tours cost $5 per person and are offered on Tuesdays at 4 pm and Saturdays at 12 pm. Each tour is lead by a volunteer docent from the University of Washington Center for Integrated Design.
Officially opened to the public on Earth Day in 2013, the Bullitt Center is the greenest commercial building in the world. It is one of two dozen structures pursuing the Living Building Challenge that was launched in 2006. The Bullitt Center was built by the Bullitt Foundation with a focus on encouraging the world to shift direction toward ecologically sound design and building practices.
The 52,000-square-foot, energy neutral building sits in the heart of Seattle and is home to the Bullitt Foundation, the University of Washington Center for Integrated Design, Hammer & Hand, and others. Every tenant of the Bullitt Center is required to commit to energy and water use specifications that will ensure that the building complies with the Living Building Challenge. Employees of the organizations that occupy the building benefit individually from equitable measures taken to encourage personal wellness like proximity of workspaces to windows/natural light, the bike garage, and the walkability of the surrounding neighborhood.
The Bullitt Center is a unique example of what can be accomplished using off-the-shelf materials, environmentally minded design teams, and a vision committed to changing the way that we build our cities for the benefit of everyone. The building itself has become a teaching resource for design professionals, developers, urbanists, and the community alike. While it is the first of its kind, the creators of the Bullitt Center hope that the lessons learned through the design, construction, and operation of this living building will be replicated over and over in cities around the world.
If you haven’t already visited the Bullitt Center, make plans to do so. The tour is an excellent learning experience and a fascinating first-hand look at the leading edge of truly green design and construction.
Points of Interest
- The Bullitt Center is heated and cooled using a closed-loop hydronic radiant tubing system installed in the floors that is supported by 26 wells located beneath the building.
- Even the elevator in the Bullitt Center generates energy using a system that converts kinetic energy from the brakes of the elevator compartment into usable electricity.
- The Bullitt Center is the tallest building that has successfully implemented a composting system. Two words: foaming toilets (You should really see it in person)!
The ArchiCool blog series features unique locations, structures, and items designed by architects all over the world.