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New Center for Environmental Studies at Oberlin

Oberlin College has broken ground for a $6 million, 14,000 square foot building that will put into practice many of the environmental lessons taught by the college. One of the most advanced examples of ecological architecture in America, the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies was designed by a team of national leaders in the fields of ecology, education and architecture. The team is working under the direction of green architect William McDonough and is being guided by the vision of David Orr, chair of Oberlin’s environmental studies program and a leading expert in environmental education.

A model for sustainable design, the building will become a producer of energy, will treat wastewater for reuse through its Living Machine, and will use products and materials grown or manufactured sustainably. In addition to many state-of-the-art technical and architectural features, the building eventually will be equipped with rooftop solar collectors developed by Cleveland’s NASA Lewis Research Center. When completed in the spring of 2000, the building, which is named for a young Cleveland philanthropist who contributed the initial $1 million for the building, will be the linchpin of cutting edge programs in ecological engineering, architecture, landscape architecture, and city and regional planning. Additional support from the Peter Lewis family brought the total family commitment to the project to $3.25 million. Peter Lewis is chairman, chief executive, and president of The Progressive Corporation.

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