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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

The Green Building in Louisville, Kentucky by (FER) Studio designed using 3ds MAX and AutoCAD

March 25th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal


Widely acknowledged as the coolest building in town, THE GREEN BUILDING of Louisville, Kentucky has hosted some of nation’s most exciting and influential organizations, individuals and events since its opening in the fall of 2008. The first commercial building in Louisville to pursue an anticipated LEED Platinum certification, THE GREEN BUILDING has become the destination for cultural, political and community gatherings, breathing life back into the city¹s long distressed and forgotten East Market district, a federally classified distressed area.

The renovated 110 year old masonry structure, a former dry goods store, houses a street facing café ; The Green Building Gallery, which features the work of local artists; event spaces, and an indoor-outdoor courtyard at the rear of the building complete with a vertical garden. The second and third floors house tenant office spaces, conference room, a vegetative roof and office spaces for SonaBLAST! Records, Holland Brown Books and The Group Entertainment. Images Courtesy Ted Wathen/Quadrant

  • Architect: (FER) Studio
  • Name of Project: The Green Building
  • Location: Louisville, Kentucky
  • Gross Project area: 15,200 square feet
  • Total conditioned square footage: 13,396 square feet
  • Total construction cost: $2.2 million
  • Program of spaces: Lobby, gallery, outdoor event area, office spaces, tenant office spaces, conference room, café, parking
  • Date completed: November 2008
  • Certification level: Platinum LEED certified
  • Owner: Augusta and Gill Holland
  • Photographer(s): Ted Wathen/Quadrant – 812.284.7085,,, Marty Pearl – 502.657.8763,, , (fer) studio LLP – 310.672.4749,,
  • Software used: Renderings  in 3DS max, the plans and sections in AutoCAD and Illsutrator

The Green Building

THE GREEN BUILDING Project rescued a 110+ year old former dry goods store from decades of misuse, resuscitating its structural masonry shell, and infusing it with a modern core, including a 40 foot high lobby, expansive natural lighting, eco-friendly materials, and renewable energy systems. The building’s original mortar joint façade remained intact while the 1980’s storefront was replaced by an angled, recessed wood and aluminum façade that recedes visually and draws visitors in towards the entryway.

A continuous clearstory was added by bifurcating the existing roof into two planes sloped in opposite directions, raising the natural light levels from 20 percent to 95 percent. The clearstory provides deeper controllable light penetration, which reduces excessive brightness and directs more light into the space as a result of the height and angle. Images Courtesy Ted Wathen/Quadrant

A café fronts the East Market Street side and a separate entry draws visitors back along the interior ‘street’ to the triple height lobby space in the belly of the building. Though the space is long and narrow, natural light and outdoor views flood the interior through an ascending glass spine that bridges all three floors and breaks the roof into three planes. The spine cascades down the backside of the space, providing views to the green roof below. The main gallery below the green roof is home to a digital movie screening room and the monthly-rotating Green Building Gallery.

A continuous clearstory was added by bifurcating the existing roof into two planes sloped in opposite directions, raising the natural light levels from 20 percent to 95 percent. The clearstory provides deeper controllable light penetration, which reduces excessive brightness and directs more light into the space as a result of the height and angle. Images Courtesy Ted Wathen/Quadrant

The semi-enclosed outdoor courtyard in the rear of the building provides a warm weather event space shaded by trees and a canopy of 81 solar panels, which provide almost fifteen Kilowatt/hours. Three DCAC inverters count the amount of CO2 saved from entering the atmosphere as a result of the panels. Taking the less-sunny fall months as an average, THE GREEN BUILDING saves 30,000 pounds of CO2 a month, more than enough to offset the carbon footprint of all the building’s employees. When CO2 levels in any room hit more than 550 adjustable parts per million, vents open to bring in fresh air.

The original mortar joint façade of the 115 year old former dry goods store and the dining patio of the Green Building’s street-facing café on East Market. Images Courtesy Marty Pearl

Just outside the courtyard and 225 feet below, a dozen geothermal wells provide renewable energy to the building and, concealed in the basement, a cylindrical 1,100 gallon ice storage system freezes during off peak hours and distributes cool air throughout the day for about ¼ the cost of a traditional system. At the end of the day, the ice has been melted and the cycle starts anew the following day. During the winter months, the cycle works in reverse to provide supplemental heating, adding to the renewable source of geothermal heating and cooling. An energy recovery unit is located at the highest and lowest points of the building to capture hot and cold air and redistribute it throughout the building as needed. Existing old growth wood members have been blasted with corn husks and planed down for reuse structurally, as flooring and furniture.

Original façade of the 115 year old former dry goods store. All original bricks beyond the existing façade have been removed and re-assembled for use in plain site throughout the remodeled areas of the building. Images Courtesy Marty Pearl

Alongside the exterior wall of THE GREEN BUILDING, three massive rain barrels capture any overflow from the green roof above. These pour into an underground culvert which then takes any excess run-off into a rain garden, towards the rear of the building. Excess run-off is also used to irrigate the green roof and a vertical garden towards the rear of the site, which is used to grow herbs and food stuffs for THE GREEN BUILDING cafe. No city water is used on the site for irrigation or landscaping.

Where storm water does flow off the green roof, these three collection tanks on the west side of the building collect up to 240 cubic feet of flow. The water is then reused for irrigation and outdoor purposes. Images Courtesy Ted Wathen/Quadrant

THE GREEN BUILDING is designed to outperform Kentucky energy codes by up to 65% and meets or exceeds the standard American Society for Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality and through architectural design maximizes daylight and views in 95 percent of all regularly occupied spaces.

The 40 foot high lobby of The Green Building and all public spaces are continually measured for natural light levels. When these levels meet or exceed designated task light levels, artificial lighting is automatically turned off. When natural light levels are lower than the designated task light levels, artificial lighting turns on. This system is automated and monitored throughout the daylight hours in order to provide a consistently lit environment for the building occupants. Images Courtesy Ted Wathen/Quadrant

The century-old drafty masonry shell of the original building has been completely sealed with inert recycled insulating materials and the original window openings, previously filled in with cinderblocks, have been restored with low-e insulated glass. Exterior louvers are used on the south side to prevent heat build-up from sunlight and renewable energy sources from photovoltaics and geothermal heating and cooling help increase the overall energy efficiency of the building. No chlorofluorocarbon-based refrigerants are used in the air conditioning and no halon gases in the fire suppression system; control systems meter HVAC systems, water usage and energy performance of the building. GE workers are currently using THE GREEN BUILDING and its technology as a source of inspiration in greening their own projects.

Existing ceiling and floor substrates and framing were removed, milled and reapplied as finished floor materials. New furniture, including this conference room table, was fabricated from old growth wood members from the original structure. Images Courtesy Ted Wathen/Quadrant

As the beacon for sustainability and the arts in Louisville, the primary goal of THE GREEN BUILDING Project is the revitalization of the emerging community of East Market. In equal effort to support the local economy, as well as earn points towards LEED certification, THE GREEN BUILDING relied on local businesses and materials during construction and continues to do so for day-to-day maintenance. Also, many of the items salvaged for recycling were given to local businesses for reuse. With THE GREEN BUILDING as the hub, other development plans for East Market include a public, 2-acre downtown marketplace with produce and food products from local growers and vendors.

The clearstory of The Green Building houses the conference room for the offices on the second and third floors of The Green Building. The sand used to manufacture the glass came from within 500 miles of the site, the glass itself has 30% recycled content, the aluminum frame around each window contains 70% recycled content and the wood framing around the glass comes from FSC certified forests. Images Courtesy Ted Wathen/Quadrant


Founded in early 2002, form, environment, research, (fer) studio LLP, is an award winning architecture, interiors, landscape, and master planning design firm based in Los Angeles, CA. Noted for its evocative aesthetic and eco-conscious design culture, (fer) studio operates under the direction of Principals, Christopher L. Mercier, AIA, and Douglas V. Pierson, AIA, LEED AP.

The Green Building has 81 solar panels, which provide almost 15 kilowatt/hours at peak. They sit atop a former loading dock, which has been converted into a courtyard space with solar panel canopy and landscaping. The wall just below the panels displays three DC-AC converters that count the CO2 saved from entering the atmosphere as a result of the solar panels. In the fall of 2009, The Green Building saved 30,000 pounds of CO2/month, enough to offset the carbon footprint of all The Green Building employees’ vehicles. Images Courtesy Ted Wathen/Quadrant

(fer) studio’s broad range of projects includes academic, civic, retail, restaurant, hospitality and residential,each rooted in the firm’s philosophical foundation to reinvent the standards of artistic composition, sustainability, and client collaboration. The art-studio environment fosters a creative design process that blends the arenas of fashion, sculpture, and the relationships between built environments, their users, and their affects on the environment.

The primary goal of The Green Building project is to revive the historic but downtrodden community of Louisville’s East Market district, which has since become the center of all things progressive in the city. While the building’s construction is complete, the vision for the neighborhood has yet to be fully realized. With The Green Building as the hub, plans for revitalization include the creation of a public, 2-acre downtown marketplace with produce and foodstuffs from local growers and vendors. Images Courtesy Ted Wathen/Quadrant

Among other projects, (fer) has contributed to Los Angeles landmarks, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the Thompson Beverly Hills Hotel, Father’s Office Culver City, as well as icons of sustainable architecture, such as The Green Building, Louisville’s first LEED Platinum pursuant commercial building, and the green Athletics and Performing Arts Center at the St. Francis School

Old growth lumber was inventoried and incorporated into the structural design of the new building. In the office spaces on the second and third floors, old framing lumber has been reused as new framing and any new wood is Forest Stewardship Council certified and harvested locally. Images Courtesy Ted Wathen/Quadrant


Design Principal & Partner, (fer) studio

Christopher L. Mercier founded form, environment, research (fer) studio in early 2002, following nine years as a Senior Associate/Project Architect for Gehry Partners, LLP., formally Frank O. Gehry & Associates. Spanning his more than 15 year career, Mercier has worked on many of the industry’s most respected international projects, including the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain, the Condé Nast Cafeteria in New York, artist Richard Serra’s pedestrian bridge in London, and the Bio-Diversity Museum in Panama, among other architectural monuments.

A view of the ceiling from the first floor lobby of The Green Building shows the corn-blasted exposure of the building’s original wood members incorporated with white maple panels that are Forest Stewardship Council certified and harvested locally. The project took about eight months longer to complete, partially due to the sourcing of the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council-certified) wood. Images Courtesy Ted Wathen/Quadrant

After earning his Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in architecture at Lawrence University, Mercier moved to Milan, Italy, where was recruited by Daniel Libeskind, the architect selected to rebuild the World Trade Center after September 11th. Following his assignment with Libeskind’s Architecture Intermundium, Mercier returned to the States to complete a graduate degree in architecture (M. Arch) at Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc).

An upward view of the entrance shows unflattering tenant work built in the 1980’s that was removed and the original unadorned backside. The triple height entry carves away floor space and provides daylighting and a visual connection to the entry for the office floors above. Images Courtesy Ted Wathen/Quadrant

Mercier founded (fer) studio to combine his perspective on modern contemporary architecture with green materials and design. The firm’s approach to sustainable architecture is grounded in Mercier’s comprehensive understanding of the construction field, having also spent years as a foreman, landscape designer and metal fabricator. Mercier’s dedication to design has been a driving force throughout his life. He spent much his childhood drawing and painting and today continues to explore the interrelationship between painting, sculpture and architecture through his artwork. Mercier’s recent work can be viewed at

The original façade of the 110 year old building before The Green Building adaptive reuse project. Images Courtesy (fer) studio LLP


Design Principal & Partner, (fer) studio

Douglas V. Pierson joined form, environment, research (fer) studio in early 2006 and helped establish the office as a forerunner in contemporary design. He brings more than 15 years of international architecture experience to his role as Principal Designer and Partner of form, environment, research (fer) Studio. Also a former Project Architect with Frank Gehry’s celebrated Los Angeles office, Gehry Partners LLP, and the Culver City firm, Hodgetts and Fung, Pierson has developed progressive academic, commercial, civic, and residential projects around the world.

An interior view of The Green Building’s street-facing café. Also designed by (fer) studio, the cafe is a separate tenant fit-out project to the existing base building submitted to LEED certification. Images Courtesy Ted Wathen/Quadrant

Pierson has worked on a wide range of internationally acclaimed projects including Seattle’s landmark Experience Music Project (EMP), Melbourne’s Victoria State Library, The Corcoran Gallery, Washington DC’s oldest private art institution, and a prefab hospital project in the U.K. He has also designed and participated in several noteworthy international traveling art and design exhibits including: The Work of Charles and Ray Eames, Pablo Picasso, and Howard Hodgkins Paintings.

Model 03

Pierson grew up in and around Washington DC, first attending the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, then the Lettres program at the Université Paul Valéry in Montpelier, France before earning his Masters in Architecture at Virginia Tech. He spent the early years of his career working at several architecture firms throughout Europe and Australia, and as the designer and curator of numerous art exhibits overseas.

Model 02

His crossover participation in the realms of art and architecture, and his immersion in the varied urban landscapes across the globe has enabled him to pursue an approach that focuses on local design while still capturing the world around us. As a Partner at (fer) studio, Pierson adds to the richness of the projects, always maintaining a strong and visible link between contemporary design and the formation of sustainable architecture. He speaks regularly on green design issues at events across the nation.

Model 01

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Categories: 3dS Max, Autocad, Building

One Response to “The Green Building in Louisville, Kentucky by (FER) Studio designed using 3ds MAX and AutoCAD”

  1. Sanjay Gangal says:

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