The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design – The Kendeda Building was created to foster environmental education, research, and a public forum for community outreach. As the first Living Building of its kind in the Southeast US, the project sets a new standard for sustainability. The Living Building Challenge is the world’s most rigorous proven performance sustainability certification standard for buildings. A Full Certified Living Building needs to meet all 20 Imperatives of the Challenge, which are divided into seven areas: Place, Water, Energy, Health + Happiness, Materials, Equity, and Beauty. The design of The Kendeda Building demonstrates that Living Buildings are possible in even the most challenging climates.
Architizer chatted with Matthew Kikosicki, Architectural Designer at The Miller Hull Partnership, to learn more about this project.
Architizer: What inspired the initial concept for your design?
Matthew Kikosicki: The Kendeda Building was created to foster environmental education, research, and a public forum for community outreach. As the first Living Building of its kind in the Southeast US, the project sets a new standard for sustainability. The Living Building Challenge is the world’s most rigorous proven performance sustainability certification standard for buildings. A Full Certified Living Building needs to meet all 20 Imperatives of the Challenge, which are divided into seven areas: Place, Water, Energy, Health + Happiness, Materials, Equity, and Beauty. The design of The Kendeda Building demonstrates that Living Buildings are possible in even the most challenging climates.
This project won in the 10th Annual A+Awards! What do you believe are the standout components that made your project win?
Few buildings exhibit such a strong stance on the environment and the role buildings can play in addressing the climate crisis. The building has a value system that is clearly on display both inside and out. The Kendeda Building is a bold step forward in making regenerative buildings the norm and we think people are drawn to the potential future it inspires.
Many specific components also stand out such as the regenerative porch, the interior environment and occupant health, and the building’s mass timber which was selected for its significantly smaller embodied carbon footprint compared to concrete and steel systems.
What was the greatest design challenge you faced during the project, and how did you navigate it?
Projects with aggressive sustainability goals present challenges from the start. Success on all our projects is contingent on working closely with strong consultant teams. Meeting the Living Building Challenge requires that the full consultant team is actively involved with the earliest design decisions. That extra level of engagement and coordination is a necessary challenge to get to an integrated solution. The porch canopy is a result of this approach. It is a structurally expressive and highly visible part of the project, but also supports the PV energy system, catches all the water used in the building, and shades the building to reduce mechanical loads. Every discipline had some stake in its form, extent, and articulation.
How did the context of your project — environmental, social or cultural — influence your design?
In addition to the climatic context, the project carefully considers the social and cultural context of the campus environment. Students are unfailingly curious and want to understand how things work. We wanted the building systems to be clearly expressed to allow students to learn about the building just by spending time there. Gravity and lateral elements are left exposed creating a visual register of the structural forces at work. Outside, greywater and cistern overflow travel through tiered swales and a constructed wetland that follow the stepped floor of the atrium via gravity as they infiltrate on site.
We also understood that the project is a campus building that needs to support students’ social lives. The daylit atrium is well used at all hours and the generous exterior porch provides valuable shaded space as students move through campus during the warmer months.
What drove the selection of materials used in the project?
Material decisions were considered based on their environmental impact. Our approach focused on what we could remove from the project and its waste stream. The FSC-certified mass timber structure has a significantly smaller carbon footprint relative to concrete or steel. The exposed nail laminated wood decking and timber structure are the defining features of the interior, precluding a need for extensive ceilings. Metal panels were left with an unpainted mill finish to avoid the added global warming potential of typical coatings. The brick is made entirely of recycled materials. Limiting the number of interior finishes exposes the materiality of the building and generally results in increased interior air quality. Every material used in the project was vetted for chemicals of concern against the LBC Red List, which required significant effort from the construction team.
How important was sustainability as a design criteria as you worked on this project?
Sustainability was critically important as we developed the design but the goal was to make a highly sustainable building that was also beautiful and replicable.
How do you believe this project represents you or your firm as a whole?
As an office, we are fiercely committed to the environment and the health of the planet. Working on projects like The Kendeda Building allows us to put that energy into a project that hopefully inspires others to work toward a more resilient future.
Brian Court, Margaret Sprug, Chris Hellstern, Matt Kikosicki
Design Architect: The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP, Collaborating Architect & Prime Architect: Lord Aeck Sargent, Contractor: Skanska USA, Landscape Architect: Andropogon, Civil Engineer: Long Engineering, Mechanical, Electrical & Plumping Engineer: PAE and Newcomb & Boyd, Structural Engineer: Uzun & Case, Greywater Systems: Biohabitats, Photographers: Jonathan Hillyer, Gregg Willett
Products and Materials
FSC-certified wood, Green Leaf Brick, Carbon Cure Concrete Admixture, Prosoco CAT-5, Morin Aluminum Sheet Panels, Accoya Wood Siding, GAF Everguard TPO, Kawneer 1600UT, Bristolite, Daylighting Systems Quasar Skylights, EcoBatt Unfaced Knauf Insulation, Columbia Forest Products Purebond, Oregon Door, Assa Abloy door hardware, Viracon Glass, USG Gypsum Board, Milliken Point 5 Common Thread carpet tile, Mecoshade EcoVeil, Clivus Multrum M35 Composting Toilet System, Nepon STW-30 Foam Flush Toilet, Fluxwerx lighting, Sunpower X-Series PV panel, LG Chem Batteries, American Hydrotech Greenroof
For more on The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design, please visit the in-depth project page on Architizer.