A Practicum in Sustainable Design
Gausman & Moore designed critical systems integral to the first LEED Gold certifi ed higher education building in the state of Minnesota. The University of Minnesota Duluth Labovitz School of Business and Economics is designed to inspire and engage students and faculty in the learning process, and to act as a practical exercise in sustainability.The open architecture employs large windows, providing views to the surrounding wetlands and Lake Superior, while harvesting daylight to illuminate the three-story commons area, two-level administration block, multiple classrooms and a 150-seat auditorium. Sited in a relatively tight footprint on an established campus, G&M worked with the architect to determine building orientation and construction that would optimize daylight benefits. G&M also specified high performance shades and window covers providing control.The new Labovitz facility was integrated into the existing campus infrastructure, while still achieving LEED Gold certification.The building’s bent bar configuration connects into the existing campus circulation system between the Library and Library Annex building and is oriented with long facades facing north and south to maximize daylight benefits and solar control. High-efficiency windows, insulation, and plumbing systems are used. HVAC systems are installed in the facility basement to ensure more efficient operation and reduce maintenance over the building life.A unique post-tensioned concrete wing spans 60 feet across Kirby Drive, expanding interior space on the third floor, while creating a gateway for automobile and pedestrian traffic. With exposure to elements from above and below, G&M recognized the need for special attention here, ensuring tenant comfort, and efficient heating and cooling.“Especially when we get involved early in the process, as we did on the Labovitz School,” says Jim Manning, Partner at G&M, “We help architects and building owners turn their vision into reality.”
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