ECHO is the first LEED-Certified building in Vermont. ECHO was a seminal project for our office, as it initiated a shift in the primary focus of our work. Since ECHO, every major project in our office embodies the principles of sustainable design. The mission of ECHO was to create an interdisciplinary center that celebrates the ecology, culture, history and opportunity of the Lake Champlain Basin. Our challenge was to meet LEED requirements with a dynamic building that invites exploration, reflecting on the relationship of the built and natural environment.

ECHO includes approximately 25,000 SF of public exhibit space, classrooms, gift shop, cafe and support facilities.
This award-winning project created a landmark in the community, demonstrating the value and attainability of sustainable design, both architecturally and ecologically. The ECHO project continues to be an educational resource for both SAS and our clients, and it is gradually becoming a recognizable icon in Burlington.

The building has a distinct connection to the basin watershed, the urban cityscape and waterfront. It responds to the pastoral parkscape and view of the lake and Adirondacks beyond. Water was used as a “building material” to illustrate its importance in the ecological systems that sustain our existence. Champlain Marble and slate quarried in the Lake Champlain Basin, used as budget permitted, demonstrates the beauty of Vermont’s indigenous resources. Visitors appreciate the use of salvaged wood from the deconstructed Naval Reserve Building that had previously occupied the site.

ECHO is the recipient of the 2003 AIA Award of Excellence.

Project Details

Location: Burlington, Vermont

Date Completed: 2003

Square Footage: 25,000 sf


Keith Wagner  Landscape Architect

Lawes Engineering  Structural Engineer

Krebs & Lansing  Civil Engineer

Yeaton Associates  MEP Engineer

Echo, Photography, Print, Visual