Museum of Northern Arizona Easton Collection Center

This 17,282-sq-ft, two-level sustainable repository provides a stable and protective environment for thousands of treasured objects that comprise the anthropological, biological and fine art collections of the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff.

On target for LEED platinum, the center encompasses an endless number of green building strategies, from photovoltaics to water conservation to appropriate solar orientation and thermal massing. As one judge says, “this project really hit on so many different levels.”

The 14,000-sq-ft living roof – the largest in the Southwest at the time of construction – consists of 5,500 coconut fiber trays filled with native soil and seedlings that will help insulate the structure and reduce stormwater runoff.

The east side of the building is faced with native Coconino sandstone, steel panels and recycled Douglas fir salvaged from trestles out of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. The interior and exterior walls are covered with multiple layers of hydraulic lime plaster, which gives them an adobe-like feel and natural colors, while providing great strength. The exterior walls also have a 4-in. layer of rigid foam insulation. The interior lime plaster walls will absorb excess humidity in the main collections room and release it back into the room as the humidity level drops, helping create a stable humidity level. The floors are of integrated colored concrete with an in-floor radiant heating and cooling system.

Key Players

Owner: Museum of Northern Arizona
Design Firm: Roberts|Jones Associates
General Contractor: Kinney Construction Services
Consultants: Woodward Engineering; Ellison Grenier Engineering; AM Engineering; WLB Group; Mogollon Engineering; Schaafsma Design; Rana Creek Living Architecture; Environmental Hydro Systems; E.J. Engineering Group