Architectural team selected for Georgia Tech’s ‘Living Building Challenge’

By Maria Saporta

The architectural team of Lord Aeck Sargent and the Miller Hull Partnership has been selected by Georgia Tech to design the Living Building Challenge 3.0 project – expected to be the most sustainable building in the Southeast.

The final team was selected from three teams that had participated in an “ideas” competition to explore all the possibilities and challenges of designing what is now a “net positive” building, set to be constructed on the Georgia Tech campus beginning in 2017.

Instead of just being a net zero building, the building will be restorative to the environment by generating more energy and water than it uses.

The selection was announced Wednesday morning at Southface’s annual Greenprints conference held this year on the Georgia State University campus.

The three team finalists participating in the ideas competition were:Collins Cooper Carusi/Eskew + Dumez + Ripple/Hellmuth + Bicknese; Perkins + Will; and Lord Aeck Sargent/Miller Hull.

Each of the three competing teams combined professionals from multiple disciplines including architecture and landscape architecture; mechanical, electrical, plumbing, civil and structural engineering; hydrology; sustainability; and other specialists and advisors.

The Living Building is a partnership between the Kendeda Fund and Georgia Tech to build the environmentally advanced education and research building on a site yet to be identified on the campus.

Living Building Challenge

Conceptual drawings for the new Living Building Challenge that is being located on the Georgia Tech campus (Special: Georgia Tech)

“We are extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with these accomplished and talented teams as part of the selection process,” said Howard Wertheimer, director of Capital Planning and Space Management at Georgia Tech, in a statement. “They all demonstrated great capacity and passion in this relatively emerging field of designing and constructing buildings that are restorative in nature.”

The Living Building Challenge project will require a great deal of collaboration and the ability to embrace the process all the way through occupation and certification.

“Georgia Tech is where I first learned to love architecture as an undergraduate student, so the opportunity to be involved with a project as transformative as this is really an honor,” said Joseph Greco, president of Lord Aeck Sargent. “We’ve always prioritized sustainable design, but the opportunity to help design and construct a Living Building Challenge 3.0 certified building takes our firm’s abilities to do regenerative design to a new level – one that is grounded in the Southeast but also influential around the world.”

The winning team partner – the Miller Hull Partnership – recently completed the Bullitt Center, which was part of the Kendeda Fund’s inspiration to build a Living Building Challenge in Atlanta.

“Our team is honored to work with Georgia Tech and the Kendeda Fund to realize the first Living Building in the southeastern United States,” said Brian Court, partner of the Miller Hull Partnership. “We are excited to join Lord Aeck Sargent and other project partners to leverage Georgia Tech’s research and academic resources in developing a transformative building that models a way toward a more balanced and sustainable built environment.”

Georgia Tech conducted an ideas competition to select the team to design the Living Building at Georgia Tech. The concept of an ideas competition is new for Georgia Tech and quite appropriate, given the enormous task of planning a facility that not only performs to the highest of environmental standards but also addresses the needs of the occupants both in terms of health and their connection with each other and the natural surroundings.

This initial discovery promotes community engagement and a learning process that accounts for climate, site evaluations, materials, cost to build and operate, accessibility and replicability for future generations.

“The ideas completion was a fascinating process that set the perfect tone for this important project, and we could not be happier with the outcome,” said Barry Berlin, a long time advisor to the Kendeda Fund. “Lord Aeck Sargent’s deep knowledge of the Southeast coupled with Miller Hull’s experience designing one of the most iconic commercial living buildings in the world make this an optimal partnership for all involved.”

Over the course of the next few months, teams from Georgia Tech, Lord Aeck Sargent and Miller Hull – as well as representatives from the Kendeda Fund – will meet to analyze and discuss site evaluations, design considerations and technologies needed to achieve Living Building Challenge 3.0 certification.

For more information, visit www.livingbuilding.gatech.edu.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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