The Kendeda Building, Georgia Institute of Technology

In a region known for temperature extremes and humidity, The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design is one of 28 buildings worldwide and the first Living Building of its scale in the Southeastern United States to earn full certification under the rigorous green building standard, while also achieving LEED Platinum v4 level certification. Designed by the collaboration of The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP and Lord Aeck Sargent, The Kendeda Building sets a new standard for regenerative design.

Located on the Georgia Institute of Technology campus in Atlanta, Georgia, the project’s goal was to advance green building and innovation in the Southeast, transforming the built environment. The 46,800-square-foot building includes classrooms, laboratories, offices, an auditorium, a student commons, and a roof garden with an apiary.

Flexible, comfortable, high performance lighting selection was critical to complement and support the variety of collaborative and individual-led teaching and learning activities. Precision anidolic-extraction optics of selected View and Profile Spoke luminaires deliver exceptional uniformity on the desks in the classrooms and work surfaces of the science labs. 

The open atrium space required careful consideration of lighting design to deliver multi-functional glare-free illuminance while staying energy code compliant and seamlessly integrating into the surroundings. Designed to receive an abundance of daylight, the atrium acts as a central hub of the building. Discreetly complementing the striking geometry of the interior, Fluxwerx pendant and linear suspended luminaires blend with the architecture to deliver a balance of functionality, minimalist design, and operative savings. 

Because daylight harvesting was also a large energy saving and biophilic goal of the project, the team needed lights that would not obstruct daylight or be a visual challenge when they were off during daylight hours. As Fluxwerx View fixtures are essentially transparent when not in use, they can recede and allow the windows to do their job fully.

The Living Building Challenge is organized around seven “Petals,” which include Place, Water, Energy, Health and Happiness, Materials, Equity, and Beauty. The Materials Petal in the Living Building Challenge required the project team to screen out materials that include “Red List” chemicals. To meet the project’s ambitious goals of Net Positive Energy and removal of Red List chemicals, Lord Aeck Sargent design team looked to Fluxwerx to help provide lighting solutions that were efficient, beautiful and red list free.

In the International Living Future Institute’s own words The Living Building Challenge, “is a philosophy, certification, and advocacy tool for projects to move beyond merely being less bad and to become truly regenerative.” LEED and the Living Building Challenge represent rungs on a ladder leading to regenerative design.  By pursuing both certifications simultaneously, The Kendeda Building serves as a living laboratory and a showcase for an optimized integration of light, design and humanity for both design and student communities.

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We were able to create a project with an LDP (lighting power density) of about .4 w/sf using the View fixtures. This level of performance is significantly better—by about 50%—than code. The View fixtures delivered up/down lighting as well, allowing the rooms to be evenly lit and provide illumination where we needed it.

Location: Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Market: Education
Client: Georgia Institute of Technology
Architecture: Lord Aeck Sargent, The Miller Hull Partnership
Photography: Gregg Willett, Jonathan Hillyer
Engineer: Long Engineering, Uzun & Case, PAE, Newcomb & Boyd
General Contractor: Skanska USA
Sustainability: LEED® Platinum v4 Certified, Living Building
Lighting: Lighting Associates Georgia