KU News Release


Oct. 28, 2011
Contact: Dan Rockhill, School of Architecture, Design & Planning, 785-864-4024

Studio 804 project honored for sustainable construction

Center for Design Research


LAWRENCE— The new Center for Design Research at the University of Kansas has been awarded an Acknowledgement Prize by the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction.

Designed by the Studio 804 class of 2011, the Center for Design Research, located on the historic Chamney Farm on West Campus, is a response to the emerging culture and support of sustainability at KU.

The Center for Design Research implements sustainable strategies to maximize the potential of existing resources, minimize environmental degradation, create an environment that is safe, comfortable and efficient, and provide an iconic representation of sustainability for KU. The building showcases the advances of green building technologies and products, including rainwater collection and reuse, a living wall, real time display of energy usage, wind turbines, solar collectors, electric vehicle charging station and passive energy strategies such as a trombe wall and façade made of reclaimed local Kansas limestone tailings.

It is expected that the Center for Design Research will achieve LEED Platinum status as well as become the first Commercial Certified Passive building in North America.

The Swiss-based Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction conducts the competition in parallel in five regions across the world. More than 6,000 submissions for projects located in 146 countries entered the Holcim Awards, and the North America region awards were presented to 10 diverse and innovative projects from Canada and the USA at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The jury acknowledges the project for “its particular educative concept and the engagement with issues of sustainable construction illustrated in the program. The in-depth participation of students in the construction process is demonstrated as a successful component in the
curriculum, substantially amplifying the learning outcomes beyond the pure experience of being a construction worker. Through the openness of the building’s function, this experience is shared not only with the few students who participate in the project — but is also transferred to the community and future students.”

The Holcim Foundation is supported by Holcim Ltd. and its group companies in more than 70 countries and is independent of its commercial interests. Holcim is one of the world’s leading suppliers of cement and aggregates (crushed stone, gravel and sand) as well as further activities such as ready-mix concrete and asphalt, including services. Holcim is represented in North America by Aggregate Industries, Holcim Canada and Holcim US.
In addition to receiving the Holcim Award Acknowledgement Prize, the Center for Design Research was recently featured in the October issue of Architect, The Magazine of the American Institute of Architects.

Studio 804 is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit design-build program at KU’s School of Architecture, Design and Planning that focuses on the creation of community-based architecture. The Studio 804 experience encompasses all aspects of the building process, from initial design through finished construction. Studio 804 is directed by Dan Rockhill, the JL Constant Distinguished Professor of Architecture.



The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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