expertise > Architecture > Sustainable Building Design
The Wellness Center at the The ExxonMobil Office Complex in Houston, Texas.
ATCO Commercial Centre in Calgary, Alberta
River Point in Chicago, Illinois
1144 Fifteenth in Denver, Colorado

Sustainable Building Design

Designing high-performance buildings and sustainable workplaces is at the core of Pickard Chilton’s design process. Our commitment to environmental stewardship not only creates built environments that are livable and workplaces that are healthy but also results in innovative and elegant architecture of long-term value. Further demonstrating our leadership in sustainability, for the last ten years, Pickard Chilton’s studio has been entirely powered by clean, renewable, wind energy. Pickard Chilton’s architectural achievements in sustainable design have been recognized with over three dozen awards.

Pickard Chilton’s studio is entirely powered by clean, renewable wind energy.
Largest WELL certified building in the Northeast and fourth largest in the US.
Top 10 largest LEED-NC Gold projects IN US
1st high-rise office building in the world to be pre-certified LEED-CS Silver, ultimately certified LEED-CS Platinum

Pickard Chilton is a signatory to the AIA 2030 Commitment program and its goal of realizing carbon-neutral buildings by the year 2030. We continually explore sustainable innovations and investigate strategies to achieve net zero energy, water, and reduced-carbon buildings. The firm is an active member of the Connecticut Chapter of the US Green Building Council and an inaugural member of the Connecticut Chapter of the Living Future Institute.

Since 2006, projects totaling over 80 million square feet have been designated or targeted LEED Gold or Platinum, representing corporate, commercial, residential, and institutional buildings in design, under construction, or completed – one of the highest amounts in the United States.

Pickard Chilton has long incorporated into our design approach those qualities and attributes at the core of the WELL Standard for building performance. Nearly 40% of the Pickard Chilton design staff are LEED Accredited Professionals and includes four WELL Accredited Professionals.

Related Work

The Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop (ACAW), now in its eighth consecutive year, has reached a newfound level of complexity and interdisciplinary collaboration. Hosted by Buffalo-based manufacturer Boston Valley Terra Cotta, the Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture, and the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, the weeklong event offers participating architecture and engineering firms, as well as students, an opportunity to hear from several speakers and to get their hands dirty designing and putting together terra-cotta facades and other architectural elements under the watchful eyes of the specialists.

Read more at Architectural Record 

Terracotta, a natural material deeply rooted in history, has found a lasting place in contemporary architecture, seamlessly blending heritage with innovation. Derived from the Italian words "terra" (earth) and "cotta" (cooked), terracotta embodies the transformation of natural clay into a versatile architectural medium, a tradition dating back to Mesopotamian and Roman civilizations. As a low cost, fire-resistant alternative to stone, it enjoyed notable resurgence in the early skyscrapers of Chicago in the late 19th century.


Design proposal for a six-story mass timber office building in Denver, Colorado with a variety of amenity spaces and an exclusive deck.

A new office complex made out of wood is predicted to become one of Denver’s “most environmentally friendly” buildings.

Construction on River North Art District’s T3 RiNo — a six-story building made of black spruce, a heavy timber — is set to finish later this year. Using wood for construction is cited as one way to cut carbon.

The timber structure serves as “a prime example of our commitment to embedding sustainability into every aspect of our projects as we work to achieve net-zero carbon by 2040,” said John Rosato, executive vice president of capital projects and development at Canadian real estate company Ivanhoé Cambridge. It’s acting as a co-developer on the project, alongside real estate companies Hines and McCaffery.

T3 RiNo, 3500 Blake St., is “slated to be one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable developments in Denver,” according to a Monday update on the project.

Read more at Denver Post 

Downtown Milwaukee is getting a $500 million upgrade. Northwestern Mutual is closing its office space in Franklin and redeveloping its North Office Building on E. Mason Street in downtown Milwaukee.

MILWAUKEE - Downtown Milwaukee is getting a $500 million upgrade. Northwestern Mutual is closing its office space in Franklin and redeveloping its North Office Building on E. Mason Street in downtown Milwaukee. 

Company leaders said this investment will transform the company and downtown.

Read more at Fox 6 Now 

Street view of the PG&E historic complex

Encompassing a full city block in downtown San Francisco between Market and Mission Street, the PG&E site comprises development components that include the 200 Mission office tower redevelopment, historic complex renovation and new 1.25-acre park to complete Hines’ vision. Upon completion, the reimagined projects will breathe new life into the entire transit-oriented block.

2+U is a Class-A office tower, envisioned as a first-of-its-kind urban Village, located in one of the most strategic locations in downtown Seattle.

Proposed entry to 1633 Broadway, a multi-family development

Pickard Chilton was recently named a finalist for Metals in Construction magazine’s international design competition.

For the 2023 edition of its popular annual design competition, the magazine invited participants to explore the conversion of a large outdated commercial office tower to an innovative residential use. The aim was to address and draw attention to the concurrent trends that office vacancy rates are at an all-time high and that the environmental carbon impact of the construction industry is appropriately being further scrutinized.

As its subject tower, the brief identified a 1970’s New York City office building, the Paramount Plaza, located at 1633 Broadway in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. The brief contemplated the reconfiguration of the large office floor plates to residential units as well as a reimagined and enhanced ground-level experience which would consist of various retail spaces, a large public plaza, and two existing Broadway theaters: The Gershwin and the Circle in The Square.

Transforming the tower program from commercial to residential presented the unique opportunity to consolidate and reduce the footprint of the building’s core infrastructure. However, daylight analysis of the resulting floor plan demonstrated the primary challenge: the center of the tower receives inadequate natural daylight for residential use. In addition, the significant lease depths of the existing commercial floor plan created challenges to providing market-appropriate unit layouts.

To resolve these issues, floor plates were strategically carved to allow ample natural daylight to reach the center of the building and the enclosure wall was offset from the perimeter of the floor. The resulting floor layout provides the unprecedented and unique opportunity for every unit to have a spacious exterior balcony, or their own “urban back porch”. 

After examining numerous options for the best use of the center of floor plate, the final design proposed “The Hub,” an amenities-rich experience that rises through the new core of the entire tower to create a vibrant social spine for the building’s residential community.

With more publicly-oriented spaces and amenities located within the podium, specific fee-based venues and activities can be opened to the greater public to provide nominal income opportunities to offset potential rent increases for building residents.

Furthermore, the dramatic post-Covid work-from-home shift has significantly impacted both workplace and home environments. As such, the tower’s new residences are generous, allowing ample space for families to feel comfortable yet have rooms that can serve as private work areas.

At the ground level, direct access to the subway system below is celebrated and announced with a series of large glass doors that open, eliminating the boundary between the plaza and the dynamic space within. Access to the subway, a grocery store, a community center, and other public amenities activate the site and continuously draw in visitors. Lastly, The Gershwin and Circle in The Square theaters are enhanced, bringing additional excitement to the block and district. Their entrances are accentuated with new entrance canopies to attract and welcome the public.

Learn about our experiences as contributors of the 2030 Challenge for the past 10 years including explorations in mass timber architecture, participation in the C40 Cities Climate Positive Program and our work creating healthful work environments that celebrate human connection through WELL and Fitwel Certification. 

The exterior design of Akamai Headquarters located in Cambridge, Massachusetts with glass framed walls.

Akamai Headquarters is a 19-story mixed-use high-performance corporate office tower comprising approximately 482,000 gsf, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


We are passionate about our clients, our work, and the positive impact of every building we design. If you have a difficult design challenge, contact us to create a solution that realizes your vision.