“It’s beautiful and sustainable,” says judge Rick Harlan Schneider, AIA, APA, LEED AP, ISTUDIOArchitects, Washington, D.C. “Your first impression of this building is this light, airy structure that you could only build with steel. You could only do that in metal. Otherwise it gets chunky and clunky.”
Keeping the Pipeline Full
The Kendeda Building is first and foremost a center of education. “Georgia Tech gets a stream of students,” says Brian Court, AIA, partner at Miller Hull Partnership, Seattle, “and it has access to the pipeline of talent. All the future mechanical engineers, structural engineers, architects that are moving through that curriculum are going to have exposure to this building, and the idea and kinds of conversations it’s trying to facilitate. It will do a lot to prime and educate the next generation of people who will be making these decisions. Georgia Tech refers to it as a living laboratory, so we put as many of the systems on display so they could point at them talk about them and see them and track them through the building.”
The school received a grant from the Atlanta-based The Kendeda Fund, which empowers communities across the U.S. and around the globe to develop solutions that increase equity, vibrancy, resourcefulness and resilience, to design and build a Living Building on campus that inspires the next generation of sustainable design leaders. The school held a design competition leading to the fully integrated collaboration between The Miller Hull Partnership, Seattle, who served as the design lead for the shell and core and Living Building Challenge (LBC), and Lord Aeck Sargent, Atlanta, who served as the lead for the interiors.
The building comprises approximately 47,000 square feet of programmable space, of which 37,000 square feet is enclosed and conditioned. There is a public outdoor learning space that includes a 2,618-square-foot outdoor porch area, and a 1,000-square-foot accessible roof deck. There is also a private, 4,347-square-foot rooftop garden with a honeybee apiary, pollinator garden and blueberry orchard. The remaining 1,905 square feet of space is for loading and bike storage.
The project was completed in 2019, and is aiming for LEED Platinum certification, as well as being LBC certified from the International Living Future Institute. Set up for education, research and outreach opportunities, the building features two, 64-person classrooms, two, 24-person class labs, two, 16-person class labs, a 16-person conference room, maker space, a 176-person auditorium, and office space for co-located programs.
The focus on education permeated the material selection as well. “We wanted to let the material shine,” says Court. “With the material expressions—wood, concrete, metal—we can really express their material qualities to the highest levels.”