The planning and construction of the design-and-build Center for Design Research is part of the University of Kansas architecture, design and planning curriculum. In a program that has been running for 15 years, graduate students enter a full-year course that traces the entire process of planning and construction up to realization. The current building project signifies a greater level of integration of sustainability into the long-running program and aims for LEED Platinum and Passivhaus certification. Form and function are aligned – with the structure serving as a design research center for interdisciplinary work between multiple schools, aiding the education of the university and community on eco-friendly strategies, material innovation and building efficiency.
Comment of the Holcim Awards jury North America
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 adoption of the building’s approach within the community is grounded by its integrative financial concept.