Dan Rockhill/ Studio 804
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.
Personnel in the firm who should receive special credit:
Engineer(s): Norton and Schmidt, Kansas City, MO.
CAD system, project management, or other software used: Revit
Wood: Seal Once; Sikkens
Other: Greengrid – Green roof blocks
Wood doors: Lynden
Sliding doors: Lowen
Upswinging doors, other: Hydroswing
Paints and stains: Sherwin Williams
Special surfacing: US Gypsum; Valspar/ Sika
Floor and wall tile (cite where used): Toto - bath wall tile
Carpet: Mohawk group
HVAC vents: Architectural grill
Controls: The Watt-Stopper
Hand Dryer: Dyson
Add any additional building components or special equipment that made a significant contribution to this project:
Insulation: Central Fiber
Bollards: Landscape Forms
Grass: North American Turf
Other: Eco-ter Stabilagrid
Wind Turbines: Kestrel - turbines, Xantrex - inverter, Standard Renewable Energy