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Architect magazine names EcoHawks Research Facility among Best Projects of 2013

Fri, 01/17/2014

LAWRENCE — The Hill Engineering Research and Development Center received two important accolades during the first week of January. The building, sometimes known by its informal name, the EcoHawks Research Facility, was designed and constructed by the Department of Architecture’s Studio 804 and opened in the Spring of 2013.  

Architect magazine named the structure one of its Best Projects of 2013. Only 13 buildings worldwide were honored. The Top Buildings of 2013 article can be read here.

Managing Editor Katie Gerfen, wrote, “This research facility at the University of Kansas is a beautifully crafted pavilion, made all the more laudable by the fact that it was crafted entirely by the students of Dan Rockhill-led Studio 804.

“With construction starting in a brutal December on the Plains, students were hand-weaving aluminum strips in sub-zero temperatures and wrangling light-reactive aerogel shades to craft a result would make any professional proud.”

A feature story on the EcoHawks Research Facility ran in Architect’s August 2013 issue.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Green Building Council informed Rockhill, who is the Department of Architecture's J.L. Constant Professor of Architecture, that the building has earned a LEED Platinum designation. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and it was developed by the USGBC to set high standards for the design, construction and operation of green buildings.

In order to receive LEED certification, a candidate building’s performance is measured in several key areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, indoor environmental quality and innovation. Data is collected during the design of the building; materials used and construction methods are documented during construction, and they are verified by a third-party organization after the building is in operation.

“Achieving any LEED certification at all requires a tremendous commitment, and the owners and designers of very few buildings do it,” said Rockhill. “The work involved in creating the submission for a Platinum building is extremely complex, very time-consuming and excruciatingly detailed. It takes an amazing amount of tenacity to follow it all the way through to completion.

“The construction itself is also more exacting than that of a regular building,” he said. “We even have to show that our construction waste was disposed of responsibly and recycled if possible.”

Studio 804 has constructed six of the 12 LEED Platinum-rated buildings in Kansas. The first was the 5.4.7 Art Center in Greensburg, which opened in 2008. The Hill Center, which is also sometimes referred to by the informal name EcoHawks Research and Development Center, is the sixth straight Studio 804 project to achieve a Platinum rating.



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Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner. See it here: http://bit.ly/1awodaa
Rock Chalk! Junior Ashlie Koehn named KU's 18th Truman Scholar
Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening.

.@KU bschool 's KIP team includes @KU _SADP students in all-ages housing project. http://t.co/c6Ss0FsWLL #KUworks http://t.co/FW0eI69uRi
Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner From KU News Service: http://bit.ly/1awodaa Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening. To her surprise, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little was on the other end of the call letting Koehn know she had been named a 2015 Harry S. Truman Scholar. Koehn is the 18th KU student to be named a Truman Scholar and the only 2015 recipient from the state of Kansas. Earlier this month, she was also named a 2015 Udall Scholar. And in spite of a distance of more than 10,800 kilometers and 11 time zones, Koehn’s thrill from hearing the news from the chancellor came through loud and clear. “Ashlie’s experience at KU epitomizes a quality undergraduate experience. She challenged herself in her coursework, exposed herself to different research opportunities, studied abroad in Germany, Switzerland and Kyrgyzstan, and participated in both student government and community service projects,” Gray-Little said. “This is quite a year for Ashlie. Her hard work is a wonderful reflection on her and also a great reflection on the university, and we all congratulate her.” Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Koehn, a member of KU’s nationally recognized University Honors Program, is majoring in environmental studies, economics and international studies. Her goal after earning her KU degree is to pursue a master’s degree in economics at either the London School of Economics or the University of Reading, with a focus on the economics of climate change. In 2014, she received KU’s Newman Civic Engagement Award for her work establishing the Coalition against Slavery and Trafficking. Her involvement with the issue was sparked by Hannah Britton, associate professor of political science and women, gender, and sexuality studies, who hosted national conference on contemporary slavery at KU three years ago. “Ashlie and I met several times to think about what KU students could contribute to the issue of slavery and human trafficking, and the result was her founding of KU CAST,” Britton said. “After a year as president, Ashlie successfully handed the organization over to the next student leader. She demonstrated her strong leadership qualities by setting a unique goal and then pursuing it with her sense of passion, engagement and dedication. No matter the country or context, her leadership strength is evident in her coursework, her public service and her work experiences.” The University Honors Program works with a campus committee to select KU’s nominees for the Truman Scholarship and supports them during the application process. Anne Wallen, assistant director of national fellowships and scholarships, noted it was an amazing ruse to pull off the surprise. Originally, the call was set up to be between Wallen and Koehn. “I was totally not prepared to be greeted by Chancellor Gray-Little, but it was an amazing surprise for sure,” Koehn said. “As a first-generation student, it took time to learn the collegiate system, but my parents taught me to be resourceful and independent from a young age and KU and the Kansas Air National Guard have provided me with the opportunities to drive me into the future, both at graduate school and in my career. I plan to use the Truman Scholarship to pursue a career as an environmental economist helping to shape future trade agreements and leverage action on important international environmental issues, particularly concerning climate change.” Koehn also had a surprise of her own for the chancellor — the meal she was helping to prepare was not exactly typical Kansas dinner fare. On the menu with her host family in Kyrgyzstan on Monday was a traditional Kyrgyz meal called Beshbarmak, or “five fingers,” because you eat it with your hands. The dish is made of horse and sheep and was being prepared as a birthday celebration for Koehn’s host mom. Chancellor Gray-Little, as she signed off from Skype, made sure to encourage Koehn to enjoy her Beshbarmak. Koehn is the daughter of Rodney and Carolyn Koehn of Burns. She graduated from Fredric Remington High School in Moundridge. She is an active member of the Kansas Air National Guard and currently on leave while studying abroad in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She is a member of the KU Global Scholars Program and a past member of the Student Senate. In addition to being named a 2015 Truman and Udall scholar, she was named a 2014 Boren Scholar and Gilman Scholar and in 2013 was named the Kansas Air National Guard Airman of the Year.


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