The newly constructed Jack & Peggy Baskin Center for Philanthropy is an amazing new structure in Santa Cruz County, CA in that it was built to give both to the community and the environment through its use of steel.

Through donors and efforts by the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County (CA) the Center for Philanthropy has built a stunning new LEED Gold certified structure, The Jack & Peggy Baskin Center for Philanthropy, which is now open and available for public to utilize.

“The 220 tons of steel in the structure is a phenomenal amount for a small building,” says Executive Director Lance Linares.

Much of that steel used in the structure is part of a stainless steel bridge which connects three separate structures together to complete the entire center.

“[The steel bridge] is one of the key pieces,” says Linares. “We’re about two miles from the epicenter of the 1989 earthquake though. In earthquake country you need joints to vibrate independently and the steel allows that. The foundation and structure should be here forever and we wanted something substantial in terms of integrity.”

Designed by Mark Cavagnero Associates and built by Devcon Construction, the new centre has a total area of 10,000 square feet. It will hold 10 employees of the foundation with space to add 14 additional in the future.

While many donors questioned why the initial investment in LEED certification was necessary, Executive Director Lance Linares knew it was worth fighting for.

“We had planned to go for LEED certification all along,” explained Linares. “It’s always an interesting challenge when people are asking ‘why spend all this money?’ but that’s what’s needed when you’re building.”

Linares points to how many things that were once considered “luxuries” are now standard in many buildings and they intend on this building lasting for a long time.

Some luxuries, such as awards, are being given to the foundation now. It received recognition from the International Architecture Awards for 2011 and was showcased at an exhibition during the XIII BA11 International Biennial de Athenaeum in Buenos Aires, Argentina in October. Presented by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design, the European Center for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and the Metropolitan Arts Press Ltd it is considered the world’s most prestigious global award for new architecture and urban planning.

“The design is unique,” continued Linares. “It’s very modern but also somewhat timeless in the fact that it could’ve been built yesterday or twenty years ago, hard to pin point.”