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Georgia Tech’s ‘Living Building’ slated to break ground... again

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Delayed by Tropical Storm Irma, Thursday ceremonies will mark the start of a project that could set the bar for sustainable design in the Southeast.

A rendering showing a two-story building will large overhanging flat roof.
The Living Building is slated to break ground Thursday.
Miller Hull in collaboration with Lord Aeck Sargent via Kendeda Fund

While the new Living Building at Georgia Tech is slated to be one of the most environmentally conscious buildings in the Southeast, so far, Mother Nature hasn’t been kind in return.

Groundbreaking ceremonies, originally scheduled for the day after Tropical Storm Irma battered Atlanta, were called off as the city recovered from widespread power outages and downed trees.

But on Thursday, Georgia Tech will celebrate the commencement of Living Building construction with a special ceremony. According to a press release, new trees will be planted to mark the moment, rather than the more traditional shovel-centric groundbreaking.

Billed as "the most environmentally advanced education and research building ever constructed in the Southeast,” the project was first announced more than a year ago.

The Kendeda Fund is a major contributor to the project, lending $30 million to the effort. The building will house classrooms, labs, maker spaces, offices, open collaboration zones, and a flexible auditorium that can be reconfigured to fulfill an array of needs.

Designed by Seattle-based The Miller Hull Partnership, in collaboration with Atlanta-based Lord Aeck Sargent, the building will feature a green roof, canopy made of solar panels, and plantings around the site that will provide food for students throughout the year.

Additionally, rainwater will be collected in cisterns to provide for operations in the building. Once the water is used, it’ll be processed on site, with the waste going to fertilize plants and irrigate the surrounding vegetation.

Ultimately, leaders say, the building is meant to be adaptable, meeting the evolving demands of campus while teaching students about environmentally conscious design.

Construction is expected to last 15 months.