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Living Buildings have been an architectural revelation over the last 15 years. Their ability to breathe on their own and give more than they take is a true testament to the progress made by the design industry, and the huge step forward made for the earth and its people. Though for all of their technical advancements, it was assumed Living Buildings could never be built in the hot and humid climate of the South, especially Georgia, where swampy summers typically necessitate the use of high amounts of energy to keep buildings cool
Miller Hull was happy to put this misconception to rest with the help of Lord Aeck Sargent Planning and Design, Inc. (LAS) when the team not only constructed a net-energy positive building, but one that is Living Building Challenge (LBC) certified.
The Kendeda Building is Georgia Tech’s first timber building since its earliest load bearing masonry and timber structures from the 1880s. The design team selected mass timber for its significantly smaller embodied carbon footprint compared to concrete and steel systems, and exposed the wood structure so the building itself could be used as a teaching tool.
Glue laminated queen post trusses with steel bottom chords are used to achieve the spans required by the larger spaces in the building where timber alone would be challenging. This hybrid approach reduces the quantity of wood required, while making routing of building services more efficient.
The nail laminated wood decking was panelized off-site and craned into place. Twenty-five thousand linear feet of 2-by-4 material was salvaged from Atlanta’s Lifecycle Building Center, which sourced the lumber from discarded film sets. The decking was assembled by apprentices hired through local nonprofit Georgia Works! providing valuable trade skills. Off-cuts from the new lumber were assembled into the seat steps that descend the three tiers of the atrium. In addition to the structural timber, wood salvaged from trees felled on campus was used for counter tops and furniture.
A building that will direct every future building in the South, Kendeda is more than a sustainable university building. Rather, it is a tool “that can help steer the conversation about our environment, [and can help] ask, ‘How can we get more of this done here?’” – Shan Arora, Georgia Institute of Technology.
Mass Timber, Nail-Laminated Timber (NLT), Glue-Laminated Timber (GLT or glulam)