Dan Rockhill/ Studio 804

Greensburg, Kansas


If you wanted to settle in a fine place that is safe, secure, and filled with friendly people, you could hardly do better than Greensburg, a town on the plains of southwest Kansas, where one’s sense of well-being can be threatened by little other than occasional bursts of severe weather. Unfortunately, such was the case when, in just a few minutes on May 4, 2007, a category EF5 tornado blew most of it away.

The students of Studio 804, the intensive design-build program at the University of Kansas’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning, sought a way to contribute to Greensburg’s rebirth. In December of 2007, they accepted an invitation to construct a small arts center, with space for a gallery, classes, and live performances. It would be LEED Platinum, as are all public buildings constructed after the storm.

Students enrolled in Professor Dan Rockhill’s full-time, one-semester, graduate-level class had to accomplish the work in four months, in time for the one-year anniversary of the storm. Studio 804 has a national reputation, having built nine single-family homes in nine years. Its students do the design work; provide labor, including skilled work such as plumbing and wiring; raise money; develop the budget; keep the books; and solicit donations of building materials.

The 5.4.7 Arts Center, named to remember the date of the storm, has modest requirements, and the plan is simplicity itself: Starting with the gallery, a meeting room, lobby, kitchenette, and bathrooms are arranged linearly, in that sequence. The directness of the plan belies the building’s complex detailing; its construction technique; and the additional systems, energy modeling, and commissioning that are required of LEED-rated buildings. The building’s site is flat, and so the structure itself was raised on a 3-foot-high plinth to give it prominence.


5.4.7 Arts Center

Dan Rockhill/ Studio 804
1465 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS. 66045
(f) 785.864.5185

Personnel in the firm who should receive special credit:
Zack Arndt, Sarah Boedeker, Krissy Buck, Jessica Buechler, Mark Cahill, Chris Clark, Justin Cratty, Corey Davis, Lindsey Evans, John Gillham, Erik Heironimus, Abby Henson, Boyd Johnson, Jenny Kenne Kivett, Will Lockwood, Simon Mance, Tim Overstreet, Katie Rietz, Corey Russo, Josh Somes, John Tarr, Megan Thompson; None registered architects

Engineer(s): Norton and Schmidt, Kansas City, MO.

General contractor:
Dan Rockhill/ Studio 804

Courtesy of Studio 804

CAD system, project management, or other software used: Revit





Structural system:
Louisiana Pacific, Universal Forest Products, Certified Wood Products, Simpson Strong-Tie

Exterior cladding:
Metal/glass curtainwall: Vitro America – Glass; Fastenal – fasterners; Unistrut – track; Vaproshield – rainscreen; Hannah Rubber – rubber washers

Wood: Seal Once; Sikkens

Elastomeric: Weatherbond

Other: Greengrid – Green roof blocks

Wood: Loewen

Glass: Vitro America – glass skin

Skylights: Velux

Entrances: Loewen

Wood doors: Lynden

Sliding doors: Lowen

Upswinging doors, other: Hydroswing

Cabinet hardware: Häfele

Interior finishes:
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: IKEA

Paints and stains: Sherwin Williams

Wallcoverings: Homasote

Special surfacing: US Gypsum; Valspar/ Sika

Floor and wall tile (cite where used): Toto - bath wall tile

Carpet: Mohawk group

HVAC vents: Architectural grill

Countertop: Richlite

Interior ambient lighting: Con-Tech

Downlights: Con-Tech

Controls: The Watt-Stopper

Kitchen faucet: Dornbracht

Bathroom: All Toto

Hand Dryer: Dyson

Water Heater: Marathon Water Heater

Add any additional building components or special equipment that made a significant contribution to this project: 

Insulation: Central Fiber

Cistern: Roth Global Plastics

Bollards: Landscape Forms

Grass: North American Turf

Other: Eco-ter Stabilagrid

Active Systems:
Photovoltaic Panels: BP Solar, Unirac – rack

Wind Turbines: Kestrel - turbines, Xantrex - inverter, Standard Renewable Energy

Appliances: Whirlpool

Geothermal Heat pump: Trane