On April 3, 2017, the design team updated the University community on the design progress for Nuthatch, as we finish the Schematic Design phase of the project. Over the next several blog posts we’ll discuss specific elements related to the design process. Today’s post will discuss the floor plan and building organization, and includes schematic renderings.

At the Concept Design presentation on campus January 24, 2017 the design team showed three potential schematic designs for the facility. We received extensive feedback on the schemes and, based on that feedback, proceeded to further develop the Reveal scheme which incorporates the existing building footprint into the new building. The existing building will be deconstructed. The existing foundation wall will be retained and form the perimeter for the eastern portion of the new building. We will look to incorporate other parts of the deconstructed building, particularly the wood studs, into the new construction. Reusing portions of the existing building is better from the perspective of embodied carbon while also reducing the amount of site disturbance.

Program elements contained within the footprint of the existing building include an office, the mechanical space, toilets and a teaching and research lab. The mechanical space will be easily accessed and have viewing windows from the corridor so that the mechanical systems for the Living Building can be easily seen. The roof of area compassed by the existing foundation walls will be a green roof space accessible to site visitors. To the west of the existing building a new volume contains a multipurpose classroom space.

The building will be clad in natural materials. The earth-sheltered building volume to the east will be primarily clad in stone, perhaps regionally sourced bluestone, while the classroom volume will be clad in wood. We are exploring using black locust, harvested from our site, for the wood cladding as well as for the decking materials. The design of the exterior of the building is at the early stages and will be significantly developed during the next phase of design.

Blog posts over the next several weeks will dive more deeply into specific aspects of the schematic design of the building including: site design and landscaping; use of daylight modeling and analysis in design; use of energy modeling in design; materials research; and the building energy system.