5.4.7 Arts Center is First LEED Platinum Building in Kansas!
LAWRENCE — The U.S. Green Building Council has certified as LEED Platinum the arts center for Greensburg that was conceived and constructed by 22 University of Kansas architecture students in the Studio 804 graduate design/build program. It is the first LEED Platinum building designed and constructed by students.
The Studio 804 building, known as the 5.4.7 Arts Center, also is the first LEED Platinum certified structure in the state of Kansas.
Platinum is the highest rating level of the rigorous LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System — a rating procedure that awards points for meeting particular green building criteria.
Studio 804’s building earned the LEED Platinum certification through its use of wind turbines, photovoltaic panels, geothermal climate control, recycled building materials and a host of other ecologically minded features.
“There are many sustainable aspects of this project that are worth pointing out,” said Dan Rockhill, the J. L. Constant Distinguished Professor of Architecture and founder of Studio 804. “The white roof is used to reflect heat as opposed to absorbing heat. In addition, we put on top of that green roof blocks, which are sedum, a drought-tolerant plant that will shade the roof and provide some air movement. The buffalo grass on the property is a relatively indigenous material that has very little water requirement so it meets the climate we have here. We use high fly ash content in the concrete, which is a byproduct of coal burning. The plumbing included very low-flow controls, so we’re not wasting water. We harvest rainwater through gutters and downspouts into a cistern, which we use to water the outside yard through a pump system. I could go on and on.”
With Studio 804’s certification today, there are now 67 buildings in the United States that have been approved as LEED Platinum by the council.
“Studio 804 is to be congratulated for receiving Platinum LEED certification — the highest environmental honor a building can achieve,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO & founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council. “The art center will be a showcase for high-performance, energy-efficient, healthy buildings, and an inspiration for others.”
The wood exterior of Studio 804’s arts center is made from planks harvested from an abandoned building at the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant in De Soto. The structure was prefabricated in a warehouse in Lawrence. Next, the building was split into seven “modules” and hauled 325 miles across Kansas by truck. For the past two months, the KU students have lived in Pratt while they finished the building, working 18-hour days.
Greensburg is rebuilding from a EF-5 tornado that struck on May 4, 2007, and destroyed 95 percent of the city. An open house at Studio 804’s 5.4.7 Arts Center was held for community residents on the one-year anniversary of the disaster.
Studio 804’s building is the first structure in Greensburg to win LEED Platinum certification, but it will not be the last. In January, Greensburg passed a resolution to certify all city owned buildings as LEED Platinum, becoming the only city in the nation to make such a commitment.
Studio 804 is the senior graduate design/build studio at KU’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning. This class is a final challenge for graduate students pursuing a professional master’s degree in architecture.
Rockhill began Studio 804 in 1995 as a not-for-profit organization and has focused projects around the theme of sustainability. Earnings from sales of projects go back to the organization for future designs. Twice, Architecture magazine has named residential projects designed and built by Studio 804 as “Home of the Year.”