September 3, 2009

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Green living
New Hampshire Institute of Art’s new green building is almost ready

By Heidi Masek hmasek@hippopress.com

Some New Hampshire Institute of Art students are starting this semester in some cozy dorm situations. The growing visual art school’s new building at 88 Lowell St. in Manchester is scheduled to open in October and includes dorm space to house 56 students. In the meantime, some single rooms are serving as doubles, and some doubles as quads, in NHIA’s Brady-Sullivan Plaza dorms at 41 Mechanic St. (But those rooms are “quite spacious,” said Roger Williams, NHIA president.)

As of Aug. 26, NHIA planned to provide housing for 239 students, about 40 more than last year, Williams said. There are probably about 430 BFA students enrolled now, mostly full time. About 1,500 students take continuing education or certificate courses.

That’s one of the reasons for 88 Lowell, an $8.8 million project that involved moving a historic building — Manchester’s first high school — and for which NHIA will seek LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification.

“I think according to our best planning efforts and projections, we will have enough housing next year,” Williams said.

The Manchester Institute of Arts and Sciences started in 1898. In 1997 it was allowed to award Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees by the New Hampshire Postsecondary Commission. The National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredited it in 2001. NHIA recently acquired dorm space at Saint Anne’s Rectory for upperclassmen. Neither Saint Anne’s nor 88 Lowell is full this year, which provides space to grow into next year, Williams said.

“We’ve tried to add dorm space as we need it rather than substantially overbuilding,” Williams said.

At 88 Lowell, classrooms and studios are on the lower floors. The six-story new addition has dorms on its top four floors. There’s a great view of Manchester from the upper stories, and a clear view of NHIA’s “campus,” Williams said. Many of NHIA’s buildings are around Victory Park.

“If you’re committed to an urban campus, it’s more difficult to accommodate your growth because you don’t have land to build on. You’ve got to find spaces that can be readapted,” Williams said.

The new building is designed for limited energy and water use, alternative energy production, conservation measures and “green” materials. 

For starters, NHIA expects a LEED point for reusing the original brick building. That conserves energy that would have been used in rebuilding, architect Dennis Mires said. Its interior was gutted, but things like the original central staircase are being recreated.

Runoff from the historic building’s sloped roof waters a vegetated, or planted, roof on the connecter to the new building. That keeps the connector’s roof cool and absorbs rainwater, in concert with a rainwater harvesting system that filters and collects water from the two roofs (the new building’s is a reflective white) in 4,500-gallon storage tanks. Those feed a 400-gallon supply tank in the building designed to hold enough water to “satisfy flushing every toilet at once,” Mires said. That conserves water, as do low-flow fixtures.

Rainwater harvesting reduces the building’s contribution to the storm system, “which in this case is connected with the sewer system in the city so it’s really important that we minimize our stormwater runoff,” Mires said.

External sun shades are set at the ideal angle for this latitude to keep direct solar gain out of the south-facing windows of the new building in the summer. Installed on those are photovoltaic panels capable of producing 14 kilowatts of electricity. Officials expect it will be enough to power the systems required for the building’s geothermal heating and cooling system, Mires said.

This configuration of geothermal will use two wells averaging about 1,500 feet deep, to either extract heat from a loop or give heat back to the loop, depending on the time of year.

Heating and cooling efficiency is maximized with a “seriously upgraded building envelope,” Mires said. It has an overall R-value of 33, and a roof R-value of about 60. Depending on which you use, that’s about 95 or 50 percent better than Manchester code, Mires said.

The building makes use of the north light often preferred by artists, or north-facing windows, for some studios while some classrooms are in the south-facing historic building, and computer rooms are away from windows, Williams and Mires said.

Inside, the building will use Energy Star appliances and materials with low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). “You need to do all that to meet the LEED criteria, but it’s also good thing to do,” Mires said.

“It’s an educational institution that is making a commitment to energy conservation,” Mires said.

“Our students tend to be pretty interested in energy conservation and green technology. They’re more aware than you might imagine,” Williams said.

“They’re going to play a real participatory role,” Mires said. Recycling rooms are on each floor, and students will be able to see meters showing the production of photovoltaic panels.

Williams thinks NHIA will continue to use green practices wherever it can.

“We have a lot of visitors to our buildings. And we’re making a special effort to use our educational skills to inform people about green technologies and how they’re used in this building. There will be, I hope, an extensive and clear display,” Williams said.

As for designing for an art school, Mires said that’s why there’s some color on the sunshades. Also, vertical safety glass fins have colored film on the west wall to keep out low afternoon sun.

The “energy-conserving features help articulate the building,” Mires said. People can look up and see the PV — “We’re not hiding them on the roof,” Mires said. Exterior metal panels and blue lights “sort of pick up” a branding image from NHIA’s Amherst Street building.

Meeting LEED standards means that indoor air quality will be “greatly improved,” but the monitoring required also improves the odds of maintaining building performance throughout its lifetime, Mires said. Williams believes many of the features that cost more now will balance out in future savings on utilities.

“It’s what we have to do to begin reducing our carbon footprint. And in terms of the cost, we’re independent of fluctuating price of oil and gas,” Mires said.

“If you think about it, the Institute is over 100 years old ... in the same way we imagine that this building ... will be here another 100 years, serving the Institute,” Williams said.

The historic part of 88 Lowell was built in 1841, Mires said. “We have a part-time faculty member who actually was a student in that building. She’s very pleased to see it restored,” Williams said. It was vacant for about 15 years before NHIA acquired it in 2008. The last city use was for school administration, although in between, an organization had apparently planned to use it as a museum but didn’t raise enough money, Williams and Mires understand.

A construction cam takes a photo every five minutes — see www.nhia.edu.



8/27/2009 MAA is early

8/20/2009 Maa Art in the Park show link with People Fest
8/13/2009 Greeley tradition
8/6/2009 Taming the painting
7/30/2009 Make your mark in Goffstown
7/23/2009 Kimball-Jenkins update
7/16/2009 Local color
7/9/2009 Currier offers free admission and wood-turning demos
7/2/2009 Not a drop to drink
6/25/2009 The SOPHA Community
6/18/2009 Manchester and Concord host gallery nights June 25
6/11/2009 Art out in the open
6/4/2009 Keeping jobs
5/28/2009 Monastary and Concord Arts Market return
5/21/2009 Her own path
5/14/2009 Nine public artworks for Nashua?
5/7/2009 Indoor and outdoor Mother's Day ideas
4/30/2009 SOPHA members show off to help Food Bank
4/23/2009 Visit the Currier for free during school vacation
4/16/2009 Colleges show off around the state
4/9/2009 Artist hotline pilot program launches
4/2/2009 Cause for soldiers
3/26/2009 Can art spider link NH?
3/19/2009 Group art shows open this week
3/12/2009 Earth, animals and learning to draw
3/5/2009 Where curiosity can lead
2/26/2009 Rockin' the art degree
2/19/2009 Where the art came from
2/12/2009 Get ready for free admission at Currier
2/5/2009 Pottery served with soup
1/29/2009 Wine and desire
1/22/2009 Art for your Valentine
1/15/2009 NHAA shows off at Currier
1/8/2009 Art on the airwaves in Nashua
1/1/2009 Learn to paint or draw
12/25/2008 Arts in 2008
12/18/2008 Conserving New Hampshire art with a moose
12/11/2008 What is it?
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10/23/2008 Be surrounded by art making10/16/2008 Receptions and open studios everywhere
10/9/2008 Copyright blues
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8/14/2008 Great outdoors
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7/24/2008 Drinking for animals; masters of woodcraft
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7/10/2008 Curtain calls
7/03/2008 The Lambovich Brothers
6/26/2008 HAS: How Art†Sells
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6/12/2008 Helping hand
6/5/2008 Sumi-e and photography
5/29/2008 Digital to paint
5/22/2008 New Kimball-Jenkins board members
5/15/2008 Making it in New York ... or New Hampshire
5/8/2008 Public eye
5/1/2008 Art for Mother's Day
4/24/2008 New art walk planned for Manchester
4/17/2008 Awards for the state's artists
4/10/2008 New directions
4/3/2008 New exhibits: no April Art Walk
3/27/2008 Monastary Gibbons "Visions of Monadnock"
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3/13/2008 Looking back at baseball
3/6/2008 Painting, calligraphy and classic cars
2/28/2008 More snow delays; Dartmouth receives arts endowment
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8/2/2007 New Hampshire treasure honored again
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6/14/2007 Play per day
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5/31/2007 Impressions
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5/17/2007 Stieglitz in Manchester
5/10/2007 They're artists and they vote
5/3/2007 Lowell is the canvas for a summer of art
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4/5/2007 A Saint paul student returns to show recent work
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3/22/2007 Compassionate cause
3/15/2007 Local color
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3/1/2007 Local Color
2/22/2007 Local Color
2/15/2007 Local Color
2/8/2007 Local Color
2/1/2007 DreamFarm Cafe's big show
1/25/2007 Built world
1/18/2007 Expressions of character
1/11/2007 Best practices
1/4/2007 Nominate your favorite for Governor's Arts Awards
12/28/2006 Art in 2006 in southern New Hampshire
12/21/2006 Time to learn
12/14/2006 Frisella's new studio; sell art for animals; girls only time
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11/23/2006 A Granite†State greeting
11/16/2006 Santa Claus hangs with artists
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11/2/2006 Local Color
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10/12/2006 Almost 80 artists in Hollis ...
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09/07/2006 Bel†Espirit, a happening of chance
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07/20/2006 For museums or your living room
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04/27/2006 In-house artists on display
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Alison Williams
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Anne Dufresne
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Art In The Park
Art in the Park sees attendance dip
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Art you can sit on (if you own it)
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Heating up the canvas
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Itís art, and itís even practical!
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Lollipops and Hand Grenades
MAA Adds New Dimension To Gallery
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Making Book With Children
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Using nature as a canvas
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