LAWRENCE — The public is invited to tour the new Hill Engineering Research and Development Center, located on the University of Kansas west campus. The building will be open between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, June 8.
The advanced research facility is the latest constructed by graduate students in Studio 804, a design-build class offered by KU’s School of Architecture, Design and Planning. Studio 804 director Dan Rockhill, J.L. Constant Distinguished Professor of Architecture, led the project, whose design and construction began last fall.
The Center will house KU EcoHawks, a KU School of Engineering student research program under the direction of Associate Professor Chris Depcik. His students’ work focuses on sustainable energy approaches for automobiles and infrastructure, including alternative fuels and the interconnection between water and energy production.
In keeping with the KU EcoHawk’s mission, Studio 804’s architecture students packed the building with resource and energy conservation features.
Most readily apparent to visitors will be its gleaming aluminum and glass facades. The metal was recycled from a Wichita airplane manufacturer, and the glass panels came from a Kansas City, Mo., building project that was never completed.
Also in use are motorized sunshades made of Aerogel insulating panels. The custom-designed installation is the first use of the high-tech translucent material in the area. Electric vehicle charging stations have been provided, along with showers for those who bicycle to the building.
Attendees will also notice how the use of low-VOC paints and sealants has lower air-borne toxins that often give new buildings an unpleasant odor.
Photovoltaic panels can be seen weatherproofing the building’s entry canopy. These and a possible future wind turbine will generate electricity. If a surplus is created, it will be fed into power lines and credited to the university through net metering.
The Hill Engineering Research and Development Center, which will be dedicated Friday, June 7, is located on KU’s west campus.