When a neighborhood in Connecticut required a new water purification facility, its residents were concerned that its appearance would negatively effect the look and feel of the surrounding area. Zahner worked with a team which included landscaping by Michael Van Valkenburgh and an iconic building design by Steven Holl Architects to create a unique building.
The Whitney Water Purification Facility and Park has been met with positive reviews in a number of magazines and publications, including the New York Times, Metal Magazine, and Architectural Record. The publications hightlight architect Steven Holl's design for the Hamden, Connecticut community.
The New York Times describes this process:
The authority provides 55 million gallons of water a day to 12 towns. But first the neighbors, who were used to walking the 14-acre grounds of the plant with their children and dogs, had to be won over.
...Initial discussions centered less on good design than "how can we make it less bad?" remembered William Brown, a member of the design committee and director of the Eli Whitney Museum across the street from the plant. There was even talk about disguising the plant, perhaps within a Georgian-style house.
Another committee member, Carl Gottschalk, an architect and 23-year neighborhood resident, said: "At some point we decided, let's try for excellence. There's been a plant there for 100 years that's been a wonderful feature of the landscape. We asked, can we recreate something that will be there another 100 years?"
A list of 25 architects was later winnowed to 5, said Gene Festa, a committee member and architect who worked for both Eero Saarinen and Kevin Roche. Selecting Mr. Holl took all day.
Steven Holl creates a prototype with Connecticut Water Purification Facility ... reestablishes public works as works of art.Sara Hart in Architectural Record, October 2005.
With this project, the entire exterior skin, consisting of stainless steel shingles with an angel hair finish, and the curtain wall system on the tube form was fabricated and installed by Zahner.
The building actually houses a water-treatment plant, which produces 15 million gallons of clean water every day for south-central Connecticut. The neglected site had been occupied by the ruins of an abandoned, century-old water-treatment plant. Holl's water-treatment plant is integrated into a public park.