Tag Archives: Sustainable Design

Featured sustainable projects

Single Sisters’ House Museum

Artefact is currently designing a museum that will illustrate the life of women from the Lehigh Valley. This museum will be housed in the Single Sisters’ House in historic downtown Bethlehem.

The project follows the guidelines of the Secretary of Interior’s Standards. The preservation design also follows guidelines for greening historic structures.

The program includes exhibition spaces, assembly space (the Saal) and an information kiosk. The major alterations to be performed in the building are the installation of an elevator and ADA restrooms.

Bucks County Outbuildings

A series of ad hoc, attached outbuildings located on the property of a renovated Bucks County farmhouse were reconstructed to create more substantial and useful buildings. The uses of the new buildings are residential and agricultural, providing space for guests, entertaining, and implement storage. The buildings were constructed with timber framed structural components and structural insulated panels to create a highly insulated, energy efficient building with expressed structural system. The cupola in the main space provides passive cooling during the warm weather and brings daylight into the center of the large room.

Fox Environmental Education Center at Illick’s Mill

Artefact’s interests in historic preservation, sustainable architecture, and community projects came together in this collaborative project to restore and renovate a mid-nineteenth century grist mill on the Monocacy Creek. Planning and fund-raising for the project was carried out by a special student program at Liberty High School in Bethlehem, PA. After the successful completion of the renovations, Illick’s Mill Partnership named the center the Gertrude B. Fox Environmental Education Center in honor of a memorable local environmental activist.



The overriding design consideration for the mill was to preserve the character of the historic structure while giving it a new function. The new uses allowed for the preservation of the open quality of the interior space, while discretely accommodating code and accessibility requirements. The center includes a science center in the lowest level, exhibition space on the main level, flexible space for teaching and events on the second floor, and a staff area on the upper mezzanine. An addition is planned for the future and will honor the existing building in proportion and in the choice of stone and timber framing. Transparent glass walls in the addition will reflect the changing use of the mill and satisfy the programmatic need for a nature observation room and bird sanctuary.

Environmental Education Center for the Wildlands Conservancy

The 3,100 square foot education center was designed along sustainable principles to save energy and conserve water and building materials. The green roof is covered with soil and planted with low-maintenance plants.  This feature reduces rainwater run-off and lowers the cost of heating and cooling by providing insulation.



The interior space is divided by a central hallway into classroom space and administrative office space. Folding partitions in the classroom area allow it to function as three separate rooms or one large group space. The administrative area includes a common space with several work stations and file cabinets, a private office, a room for office equipment and supplies, and a kitchen. The lobby and corridor are designed with space for various displays. A large covered front porch functions both as an outdoor classroom and as a staging area for educational forays into the conservancy grounds