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Burchfield Penney to Be First Green Art Museum in New York State

Posted: November 17, 2008
When it opens to the public on Nov. 22, the Burchfield Penney Art Center at Buffalo State College is expected to be the first art museum in New York State certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program of the U.S. Green Building Council.

Designed by the award-winning international firm Gwathmey Siegel and Associates Architects, the $33 million art center fronts Buffalo’s historic museum district. It is one of the largest regional art museums in the country and is slated for LEED silver certification.

The LEED Green Building Rating System is a voluntary third-party evaluation system where credits are earned for satisfying specified green building criteria, such as sustainable site development, water conservation, reduced energy consumption and atmospheric impact, use of renewable materials and resources, improved indoor air quality and other innovations in environmental design processes and education.

In addition to its LEED silver certification, the Burchfield Penney will participate in the New York Energy Smart New Construction Program, meeting New York State standards to reduce energy usage and consumption.

“Achieving LEED certification is very challenging for art museums given exacting climate standards needed for art preservation, as well as the volume of visitors to the building,” said Burchfield Penney Director Ted Pietrzak. “These challenges are intensified in Western New York, with its cold winters and hot summers.”

The Burchfield Penney is home to the world’s largest collection of works by famed American watercolorist Charles E. Burchfield (1893–1967), as well as his art studio and thousands of sketches, which provide a rare glimpse into his creative perspective and process. In addition, the collection includes 7,500 works by more than 600 artists, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Cindy Sherman, Susan Rothenberg, Robert Longo, Elbert Hubbard and Gustav Stickley.

“Our mission is to preserve not only the culture of the Great Lakes region, but also the environment,” said Pietrzak.

Buffalo was recently voted America’s top arts destination by American Style, the magazine for art collectors and travelers. The city continues to experience a cultural renaissance rooted in its historic architecture, supportive cultural organizations, 10 local colleges, five major museums and nearly 200 independent art spaces.
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