Skanska USA Building Inc., has begun the renovations of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, newly designed by Rafael Vinoly Architects, PC. The renovation, being performed while the museum continues to host daily visitors, will make the facility the first New York City museum to be LEED certified. Skanska and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum are striving for a silver LEED rating. The project team aims to recycle 50-75 percent of all project waste and to incorporate green building guidelines in the selection of construction materials, maintenance and site clean up.

Bahrain’s tallest buildings, the twin-towered World Trade Center, will be harnessing the energy of Gulf breezes upon completion in June 2006. The 262-yard tall twin buildings will support three massive wind turbines, each suspended between the towers on 32-metre bridges and connected to generators. The turbines are expected to furnish roughly 30 percent of the power for the 50-story site and are expected to cost $2.7-million. WS Atkins and Partners are the project architects.

MGM Mirage has announced the architects involved in the design of the $5-billion Project CityCenter. Gensler, executive architect for Project CityCenter, in conjunction with MGM Mirage’s Design Group, coordinates the efforts and collaborates with a list of architects that includes: Cesar Pelli, Rafael Vinoly, Sir Norman Foster, James KM Cheng, and Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. The project, featuring a 60-story, 4,000-room hotel and casino; two 400-room, non-gaming hotels; 5,000-sf of retail space; 1,640 luxury condominiums; and dining and entertainment venues, will pursue LEED certification. The garden roofs, water reclamation plans, and on-site power plant will promote “the most responsible use of water, electricity, and natural gas,” and will incorporate design elements aiming at developing one of the world’s largest environmentally sustainable urban communities. The project, the largest privately financed development in the US, is scheduled to open in late 2009.

Seattle design firm Weber+Thompson has scheduled the development of a new, four-story sustainable office building and headquarters, in Seattle’s South Lake Union area. Weber+Thompson expects to attain LEED gold certification for the project, which will feature, in addition to the passive cooling system, hydraulic radiators, shower and change rooms for bicycle commuters, prominent stairwells to discourage elevator use, a highly-reflective white roof to reduce heat island effects. Natural light and shallow floor plates will allow for ventilation from inside the open air courtyard and from the building’s exterior. Operating and maintenance costs for the building should offset the extra costs for these sustainable elements, which have driven the costs of the project roughly 10 percent higher than those of a typical class A office building.

DeStefano Partners, Ltd., Richard Keating, and developer, Hines, have begun construction of the first building in Illinois to be pre-certified in the LEED Core and Shell development program (LEED-CS). The 40-story, 820,000-sf office tower, pre-certified for silver status, should satisfy 29 green performance and systems requirements. Sustainable design features of the site include 15 mature maple trees in a 16,000-sf outdoor plaza irrigated by the building’s mechanical system, which exceeds efficiency requirements and features an ultraviolet sterilization system designed to reduce mold and indoor contaminates without the use of harsh chemicals.

Hartman Cox Architects have been chosen as design consultants for the renovation of the University of North Carolina’s Morehead Planetarium. The Planetarium, built in 1949, is considered “one of the greatest landmarks on the UNC campus,” and will undergo a renovation that includes the addition of a 10,000-sf planetarium addition to the north entrance. The $10-million comprehensive renovation is projected to start in June 2007.

Hellmuth, Olbata + Kassabaum (HOK) has designed the new midfield Indianapolis Airport Terminal. The terminal design is reminiscent of downtown Indianapolis’ Monument Circle and includes 90,000-sf of retail space, 96 passenger check-in counters, 18 screening checkpoints and 55,000-sf of office space. The terminal’s arched roof design will promote natural cooling and water collection while the placement of the terminal “midfield” between main runways reduces taxi time, reducing aircraft fuel consumption and passenger time in the aircraft.