William McDonough + Partners and HITT Contracting Officially Open New Innovative Co|Lab Building

William McDonough + Partners (WM+P) joined HITT Contracting today at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the official opening of the leading general contractor’s Co|Lab, a new space dedicated to researching and testing emerging materials and technology.

The structure, designed by WM+P, features a Glu-Lam and Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) structure, is the first CLT structure in Virginia and the first commercial Mass Timber building in the D.C. metro area. In addition to the Mass Timber structure, which provides multiple benefits for occupant well-being, WM+P worked with HITT to integrate healthy, circular materials, including preferring Cradle to Cradle Certified™ products.

“Co|Lab is designed to challenge norms and inspire new ideas, and we couldn’t be happier with the end result,” said Katie Rothenberg, Vice President of Sustainability and Innovation at HITT. “We have a responsibility to collectively shape the future of our industry. By investigating new ideas, we can create efficiencies, improve health outcomes, lessen costs, and reduce our environmental footprint.”

Beyond reducing the building’s negative impact, Co|Lab was designed to embody WM+P founder William McDonough’s positive Cradle to Cradle Design™ for the Circular Economy™ principles by designing for disassembly and next use. By assembling the building using only mechanical fasteners, the high-value Mass Timber elements can be disassembled and then reused or recycled to be endlessly recirculated in a safe, then circular, economy.

During the ceremony, the U.S. Green Building Council presented Co|Lab with a LEED v4 Platinum certification, which was partially earned through points awarded for integrating Cradle to Cradle Certified products. The building will also pursue Petal Certification from the International Living Future Institute. In keeping with McDonough’s vision for Carbon Positive behaviors and buildings contributing to a Circular Carbon Economy, Co|Lab was designed to generate more energy than it consumes and is anticipated to earn Zero Energy Certification once one year of performance data is collected and analyzed.

“We designed HITT’s Co|Lab based on our concept of building like a tree. Instead of just talking about minimal environmental footprint we talk about beneficial environmental footprint – not just minimizing negative emissions – we talk about optimizing positive emissions.” said WM+P’s founder William McDonough. “A tree emits oxygen, distills water, provides habitat for hundreds of species, emits bird song, food and beauty among other things. We apply this ambition to all our buildings and all types of construction. It is especially delightful to use the new forms of commercial construction using cross-laminated timber and wood because it directly connects to this idea even in a building’s basic materials. A building like a tree, made from trees.”

To learn more about designing buildings for the Circular Economy, contact us.