Studio 804

For one year, Studio 804, an intensive design/build program in conjunction with The University of Kansas, consumed my life.  It was all I did for 12-14 hours per day, 6 days a week, not including the hours it kept me up at night.  During this time I learned more than I’ll probably ever realize about architecture, construction and collaborating with others to create something great.

Along with 19 other students during 2012-2013, we designed and built the EcoHawks Research Facility.  It is a 3,700 SF, LEED Platinum Certified research facility for the EcoHawks, a KU Mechanical Engineering group that converts gas-powered vehicles to electric and also studies various types of alternative fuels.  Their prior facility was nothing more than a large shed, which lacked running water, heat, and the square footage to properly conduct their research.

Our concept for their new facility easily solved these problems, while also establishing itself as a gleaming icon for KU’s west campus.  The floor plan is comprised of (3) 30’ squares, or “pods,” in a row running on an east-west axis.  Pods 1 & 2 are conditioned and provide high-bay fabrication space with a car lift, computer workstations, 2 storage rooms with additional mezzanine storage, and restrooms.  Pod 3 serves as an open-air research yard, where the EcoHawks can conduct their alternative fuels research, which includes burning biomass and syngas.

Over 6,000 SF of the exterior of the building is clad in 13’ woven aluminum strips, a system developed by Studio 804.  Below the weave sits a glazed storefront system, which faces directly south and allows for passive heating during the winter months.   Another custom designed and fabricated system is a series of nighttime insulation doors mounted just inside the south-facing glazing.  The translucent panels are filled with Aerogel, an extremely efficient and lightweight thermal insulator consisting of 95% air.  The panels remain open during the day to allow the concrete floor to absorb heat from the sun and then lower at night to help retain the captured heat.

Such sustainable strategies are incorporated throughout our building, and all help to contribute to our LEED Platinum Certification.  They also contribute to our building’s net-positive energy use design, meaning that it is designed to actually produce 12% more energy from its 14.5 kW photovoltaic array than it uses, which will be fed back into the power grid.  Other sustainable factors include a highly-efficient VRV heating and cooling system, 9.5” thick wall cavities filled with recycled newspaper insulation for an R-value of 34, concrete with a 20% recycled fly ash content, and 91 panes of reused glazing salvaged from a nearby building.

See also Concrete & Steel Stairs and Monument Receptacles.

Click here to see our Studio 804 project featured in Architect Magazine.

All content © Copyright 2020 by W. Hunter Hanahan.