The Forum, located in the Architecture department of University of Kansas, was designed and built to meet the United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standard, LEED v2009 NC Platinum. This is the most stringent new-construction certification for sustainable-design that was in use by the USGBC during the building construction.
It marked Studio804’s seventh consecutive LEED Platinum building with several other outstanding architectural features. It includes an unique positive displacement ventilation system. On mild days during the year, the natural ventilation mode shuts down both the primary and outdoor air system, and cross ventilation is used to draw in fresh air through the space.
The perimeter skin is made up of two separate walls of insulated glass, three-and-a-half feet apart. The space between them provides room for the cedar louvers. Motorized dampers are located at the top and the bottom of the outer layer. The louvers are controlled by a rooftop weather station and are programmed to track the sun.
The living wall of ferns and begonias provides additional acoustic control for the lecture space by absorbing and dissipating sound and is watered from the cistern. The lush vegetation helps to improve indoor air quality by naturally filtering toxins in the air. Besides these, setting up the LED lights, PV panels, water reclamation and usage of recycling materials are the other great aspects of this building.
The construction had begun with the demolition of an outdoor workshop on the south side of the Architecture building. The existing shed housing the electric services had to remain in continual operation. As a result, the addition was carefully built above the existing mechanical room, and this became the site for the new glass-enclosed 121-seat auditorium and a ‘Jury room’ with a big common space at the entry..