New Cincinnati Herald building wins regional award for green building techniques

Uptown Cincinnati is known for its dynamic institutions like the University of Cincinnati, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens and the slew of hospitals and research facilities that make up what is known as “Pill Hill.”

As these institutions continue to change, so do the surrounding neighborhoods.  So far hundreds of millions of dollars worth of new investments have occurred in the Uptown area within recent years.  One particular area that is seeing dynamic changes is Burnet Avenue near Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

The first phase of a larger Burnet Avenue redevelopment strategy is well underway and represents more than $85 million in new development.  A new office building for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the new headquarters for the Cincinnati Herald represent roughly 200,000 square feet of new office space.  

The first phase of the project also includes a 1,450 space parking garage and new streetscaping surrounding the development, but while the development represents a large economic investment, in the Avondale neighborhood, it also represents a significant green investment in the neighborhood and Cincinnati as a whole.

The three-story, $7.8 million Cincinnati Herald Building has been selected as a Green Building of America Award-winning project and will be feature in the upcoming green success stories edition of The Real Estate & Construction Review-Midwest.  The building is also under review by the U.S. Green Building Council and is striving to reach Gold Certification.

The building was selected out of more than 2,500 nominated projects and will be highlighted for how developers, consultants, architects and contractors worked together to design and build one of the region’s most important, innovative or unique new sustainable facilities.  The publication has been released annually and features the region’s top projects as determined by The Real Estate & Construction Review editorial board.

One of the most notable green features incorporated into the Cincinnati Herald Building is the use of wood composite exterior finish.  This finish gives the building a warm look that differs from the typical use of glass, concrete and steel.  The composite panel is faced with a natural wood veneer and given a protective coating that counters the effects of sunlight, graffiti, extreme temperatures and other atmospheric agents.

The environmental benefits of using such a wood composite are profound.  The veneers are made of real wood fibers normally from abundant and fast-growing tree species like Obeche and Poplar.  The wood fibers are dyed and pressed into large blocks which are then sliced to a desired thickness.  The final appearance is that of natural wood without the environmental implications.

The Cincinnati Herald was started by Gerald Porter in 1955 and has served as Cincinnati’s premier African-American newspaper ever since.  Over the years, ownership of the paper has changed hands several times with the African-American owned SESH Communications purchasing the newspaper in 1993.

Writer: Randy Simes
Source: Uptown Consortium; DNK Architects