View Quadangles Print Version →


 

Read Class Notes Online →

 

Browse CLASSPICS

 

 

Past Issues →

 

 

 

subscribeOnline picture

 

 

Advertise with Us →

 

 

Bookmark and Share

 

 

subscribeOnline picture RSS feed

 

Richard Piacentini ’77

A Model Garden

When President Barack Obama and other world leaders gathered in Pittsburgh for the G-20 Summit last September, they enjoyed dinner at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, a 113-year-old institution that has reinvented itself under the leadership of executive director Richard Piacentini ’77.

More than 300 organizations bid on hosting G-20 events, and Phipps won three of them, including the lavish dinner served on tables made from locally reclaimed trees.

Phipps itself seems a metaphor for Pittsburgh’s recovery from post-industrial near-ruin. “The president chose Pittsburgh as the G-20 site because he saw it as a rejuvenated city,” Piacentini said. “Pittsburgh has done much better than most of the country during the recession. It’s a city that has reinvented itself.”

Since Piacentini took over in 1994, Phipps has become a model of environmental leadership and efficiency in everything from its new visitors center to educational programs and greenhouses. Piacentini has led a $36.6 million expansion marked by environmentally sensitive designs such as the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building in a public garden in the country.

A pharmacy major at URI, Piacentini, who later earned an M.B.A. and a botany degree on his way to a career change, has traveled the world to impart advice on energy efficient development. He is currently working with URI’s College of Pharmacy in designing a medicinal plant conservatory as part of the college’s new campus facility.

“The impetus for LEED came to us from architect Bill McDonough,” Piacentini explains. “We were preparing for our expansion in the ’90s, and he started talking to us about green buildings. It made a lot of sense; we thought we should reflect our values. Now we are recognized internationally for exactly that.”

The expansion isn’t complete yet. Piacentini is putting the finishing touches on fundraising for Phipps’ Center for Sustainable Landscapes, a multi-million dollar project designed as a “living” building with net zero energy consumption.

—John Pantalone ’71

One comment to “Richard Piacentini ’77”

  1. dragoslavlazic comments:

    Architecture has evolved into a modern profession that blends technology and creativity to create the perfect structures. These days, architects are keen on developing structures that will ultimately make the world a better place to live. Infrastructure Architecture has emerged as a new idea that has helped to raise the stakes in the industry as well as enable Architecture firms to see things in a totally new dimension.

    --Posted: March 3rd, 2014 at 9:59 am

Leave a Comment

Most comments will be posted within 24 hours of submission.

Spam protection by WP Captcha-Free

Web Extras

SENIOR Prom

Poets and Writers

The President’s View

The President’s View

Features

The World Is His Oyster

Energy Fellows: Bright Ideas for Saving Energy in Rhode Island

Gulf Oil Spill Puts URI Experts In the Hot Seat

URI Helps Set Standards for Off-Shore Wind Farms

A Different Way of Growing Things

Farming in Rhode Island: A Growth Industry

News & Views

Watching After Our Watersheds

Did You Know That …

Green Biotech Building Earns the Gold

Bagging the Plastic

Investing in $aving Energy

Our Man In Abu Dhabi

Press Box

Athletics Department Honors Four Seniors

Woodley Named A-10 Top Track & Field Rookie Performer

Women’s Rowing Captures Atlantic 10 Championship

Football Team Holds Bone Marrow Drive

Class Acts Profiles

Victor Bell ’73, M.M.A. ’77

Heather ’72 and Don Minto ’73

Richard Piacentini ’77

Ken Ayars ’83, M.S. ’85

Gil ’80 and Sandie Barden ’91

Kate Venturini ’06

Back Page

URI Runs in the Durfee Family Bloodline

Alumni Chapters →

Wrapups

2010 Commencement

50th Reunion

Golden Grad Weekend

Upcoming Events

Big Thinkers

Distinguished Achievement Awards

Homecoming 2010




QuadAngles © 2014 URI Alumni Association. All rights reserved. Produced by the Office of Publications and Creative Services for the URI Alumni Association, Alumni Center, 73 Upper College Rd., Kingston, RI 02881. Phone: 401-874-2242 | Contact Quadangles