The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design
Architect: Lord Aeck Sargent in collaboration with The Miller Hull Partnership
Owner: Georgia Institute of Technology
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Project site: Previously developed land
Building program type(s): Education – College/University (campus-level), Office – 10,000 sf
The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design at Georgia Tech is a multidisciplinary education building that serves as a working model of what is possible with sustainable design. The building is located at the heart of campus, anchoring the Eco-Commons, an eight-acre restored green space central to the campus master plan. The design team focused on integration and multidimensional solutions using an iterative and systems-based process.
The west-facing Regenerative Porch exemplifies this integration. As a Southern, vernacular design element, the porch typology addresses some of the project’s most significant challenges. Welcoming and generous in spirit, the porch provides shaded space for outdoor programs while reducing building cooling loads. It collects enough solar energy and rainwater to meet the building demand.
A central atrium space serves as the heart of the project and brings even daylight distribution to the deepest part of the plan. Where glare reduction and heat gain mitigation were required, exposure-specific strategies were employed—horizontal shading at the south elevation, automated exterior blinds on the east façade, large roof overhangs, and vertical vegetation screens on the west façade.
Reduced embodied carbon goals led to the selection of wood as the primary structure. Leaving the wood exposed reduced the need for interior finishes and provided a biophilic interior palette. Where lateral loads or longer spans were required, steel was paired with timber, creating a hybrid system that employs each material to its highest and best capabilities. For the exterior, where weather protection is critical, high-performance coatings were used on steel members. Concrete is limited to foundations and where beneficial for thermal mass.
A fully integrated design, the Kendeda Building is a synthesis of the Living Building Challenge (LBC) that operates in a regenerative manner, giving back more than it takes, and serves as a living laboratory for generations of students to come.