Green Room Background

The Greenroom was designed as a break room for the employees at the Crawford County Industrial Park (CCIP), a former Superfund site that has been revitalized and is now occupied by 20 businesses. Intended to celebrate the industrial and natural history of CCIP, it provides an aesthetic and relaxing atmosphere for CCIP’s 1,200 employees, while demonstrating possibilities for green design and reuse. Many materials used in the Greenroom were found abandoned at the site or are from some other ecologically sustainable sources. The Greenroom serves as a model of ecological sustainability and the combining of artistic, environmental and industrial interests to put positive social change into action.

The Greenroom grew out of an Allegheny College Art & Environment class taught by Professor of Art Amara Geffen and Associate Professor of Environmental Science Eric Pallant in 1998. In August 2000, Phase One of the project was completed, including:

  • A large mural celebrating the industrial history of the region. Spanning a 33′ x 17′ wall, the mural tells the story of the site during the last several hundred years. The design details Native Americans by French Creek (which runs by the site), the birth and growth of industries at the site (American Viscose FMC, and Avtex), the impact of the Superfund era and the remediation of the site. The mural also proposes the possibility of thriving industries that do not harm the environment, exploring environmentally restorative industrial practices. Lumber used to stud the mural wall was harvested from certified sustainable forests, and the drywall upon which the mural was painted was made from recycled gypsum and paper. The people depicted in the mural are current CCIP employees.
  • Furniture for the space, which was constructed entirely of recycled materials. While some chairs were found, reclaimed and refinished, other chairs and all of the tables were constructed from discarded bobbin racks and machines found in the abandoned Avtex chemical laboratory. Incorporating pieces of regional history, the furniture promotes ecologically sustainable practices. It functions both as a work of art and as a place to relax, eat lunch and visit with friends.
  • An historical photo-essay depicts some of the processes of American Viscose and Avtex Fibers, Inc., as well as the relationships between those industries and the Meadville Community.

The Greenroom’s Phase I was accomplished with the support of the Allegheny College Center for Experiential Learning (ACCEL), Allegheny’s Center for Economic and Environmental Development (CEED), the Crawford County Development Corporation (CCDC), the Crawford County Historical Society, FMC Corporation, the Howard Heinz Endowment, Hickman Lumber Company, Inc. and the Richard King Mellon Foundation.

Phase II, will involve the installation of energy efficient heating systems at CCIP, as well as the creation of a windblock and greenhouse space within the Greenroom. Once the heat systems, windblock and greenhouse space are secured, the final phase of the project will involve a community based collaboration in which former Avtex workers and their families will help make ceramic tile referencing their memories of Avtex. These tiles will be used in the development of a series of benches located in the Greenroom and also in a quarter mile of hallway that connects the north and south ends of the complex