Miller Hull

The Kendeda Building at Georgia Tech opens its doors as one of the most environmentally-advanced buildings in the world

10-24-2019 | News Press Releases

ATLANTA, GA (Oct. 24, 2019) — The Miller Hull Partnership completed another milestone project today during the dedication ceremony and grand opening of The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design at Georgia Tech. The Kendeda Building is slated to be the first Living Building of its kind in the Southeast United States, the largest higher education building to achieve Living Building certification and the first mass timber building on the Georgia Tech campus.

“It was a perfect fall day for the grand opening,” said Miller Hull Principal Margaret Sprug, project manager on the project. “In the opening remarks, it was noted that the real mission of the building is already beginning to transform and inspire the next generation of students who will be living, learning and imagining a future that they will create.”

A design collaboration between Miller Hull and Lord Aeck Sargent, a Katerra Company, The Kendeda Building was conceived as a state-of-the-art learning lab and incubator for those pursuing sustainable innovations. The building was constructed by Skanska and designed to cater to a diverse collection of students, providing classrooms, labs, offices and gathering spaces where they can study, explore, research and produce a body of work that speaks to their passion.

Every aspect of the facility provides healthy spaces to increase users’ well-being through strategies like ample daylighting, natural ventilation and reduced chemicals of concern. In addition, over 3,500 square feet of outdoor space is available to users, including the covered Regenerative Porch and the rooftop garden.

“The traditional notion of a front porch served as the conceptual starting point for the project,” said Brian Court, partner at Miller Hull and design lead for The Kendeda Building. “We wanted to capture the social and communal benefits of the porch and instill that into the building. From there, we looked at the physical benefits of the porch—sun and rain protection—and turned the porch into a harvester and collector of resources, gathering all the solar energy and rainwater the building would need to be regenerative.”

By pursuing Living Building Challenge certification, The Kendeda Building is designed to operate regeneratively. Net Positive Water is achieved using an on-site cistern that can store up to 50,000 gallons of water, in addition to 460,000 gallons of annual rainwater collection and treatment for potable use. Over 900 solar panels are expected to generate 455,000 kilowatt hours annually, creating 140 percent of the building’s total expected energy use. Powering the building through Net Positive Energy results in a 72 percent energy reduction compared to the median use of other colleges and universities in Atlanta.

Achieving Net Positive Water and Energy completes the requirements of the Water and Energy Petals, or performance areas, as the framework of the Living Building Challenge. To become a Full Certified Living Building, The Kendeda Building will need to meet all 20 Imperatives of the Challenge (more detailed requirements) that are divided between seven total Petals: Place, Water, Energy, Health & Happiness, Materials, Equity and Beauty.

“Building Living Buildings is not only necessary but possible,” said Chris Hellstern, Living Building Challenge Services Director at Miller Hull and one of the architects on the project. “The design and construction industry has the knowledge and ability to create regenerative buildings that are self-sufficient now.”

In 2015, The Kendeda Fund donated $25 million for Georgia Tech to design and build a Living Building on campus. The intent of the facility was to prove a regenerative building was possible in any climate, even in the heat and humidity of the Southeast.

Over the next 12 months, The Kendeda Building will record, track and report its performance data. The requirements outlined through each Imperative and Petal must be met in order to earn a Living Building Challenge 3.1 certification.

“Today’s grand opening shows that the commitment from Kendeda and Georgia Tech for a regenerative Living Building has raised the floor for the southeast,” Hellstern said.

Sustainable architecture has come a long way in the last decade. It is no longer a widely perceived notion that sustainable design means compromising on beautiful architecture. The Kendeda Building is the product of a bold, iconic design that was not only inspirational, but reflects the values of the Living Building Challenge, The Kendeda Fund and Georgia Tech.

“I have spent a lot of time over the last year walking around the site and enjoyed overhearing all the passing students’ questions and conversations about the building,” said Matt Kikosicki, project team designer for Miller Hull. “The architecture stops people in their tracks, so there has been growing excitement about the project since construction started. So many students will use this building during their time here and take some of it with them as they go out into the world. That will be the true impact of The Kendeda Building.”

The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design has been four years in the making. Today, it represents the next evolution in responsible buildings, redefining sustainability and demonstrating what is possible through the Living Building Challenge.

For more information about The Kendeda Building and The Miller Hull Partnership, call (206) 682-6837 or visit www.millerhull.com.

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About The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP
The Miller Hull Partnership is an architecture, planning, urban and interior design firm that creates dynamic and environmentally-responsible buildings, striving for a regenerative and inclusive future. The firm has a studio in Seattle and San Diego with work extending across typologies for public and private clients, including single-family, multi-family, mixed-use, civic, commercial, higher education, independent K-12, community, cultural, gateways, infrastructure and public safety. Widely recognized for innovative, timeless designs and a partnership-driven practice, Miller Hull has received over 350 local, regional and national awards for design excellence, including the AIA National Firm Award and Architect 50’s Top Firm for Sustainability. For more information, visit www.millerhull.com.