The Forum is an addition to Marvin Hall, the historical School of Architecture building at the University of Kansas. It satisfies the school’s acute need for a central commons space and an auditorium, neither of which were originally present in Marvin Hall. It was primarily designed and constructed by the post-graduate architecture students and participants of Studio 804, the Department of Architecture’s Design/Build program, with support from various industry experts.
Transsolar consulted the team on the design and architectural integration of the climate-responsive double façade and the natural ventilation strategy.
The double façade is made up of two separate walls of insulated glass, three-and-a-half feet apart. The space between them provides room for cedar louvers, which are used for solar control and daylight access depending on current conditions. The louvers are controlled by a rooftop weather station and are programmed to track the sun. At the top and bottom of the double façade’s outer layer, are motorized dampers. In the winter, the vents are closed, cloaking the building in a warm air blanket generated by heat gained from the sun. When cooling is needed, the upper and lower dampers open, allowing stack effect to draw cooler air from the shaded space under the building and exhaust air at the top, preventing the interstitial space from greatly exceeding air temperature. On mild days, the building switches automatically to natural ventilation mode: air systems are turned off; fresh air is drawn in via cross ventilation. Outside air enters from the east façade into an underfloor plenum, and seeps at low velocity through openings in the floor, beneath the auditorium seats, into the occupied space. It is exhausted through dampers at the top of the west side of the building. This strategy minimizes the need to introduce mechanically-tempered air into the space.
The passive design strategies mitigate heating and cooling demands, resulting in over 50% estimated energy savings. In addition, a rooftop array of photovoltaic panels reduces The Forum’s dependency on electricity supplied from outside sources, increasing the building’s resiliency.
2016 Architizer A+ Award "Higher Education and Research Facility”