Earlier this year, the Columbia Theological Center opened its newest building on its campus in Decatur, Georgia. It is a building dedicated to Vernon Broyles, Jr. and is named after him as the Vernon S. Broyles, Jr. Leadership Center.
The addition and renovation to the historic Simons Law Student Residence Hall were designed and executed by Lord Aeck Sargent Architecture firm.
The existing building remains with only the windows, roofing, interior partitions and finishes renewed using sustainable materials and practices. It is linked to the new structure with two primary features, an eighty feet tall tower entrance and a double height arcade.
The new brick and cast stone relates to the existing gothic structure, the new roofs are slate shingles made from recycled plastic and the glass is strategically placed for natural day-lighting and to control reflectance on interior work surfaces.
The construction process was discussed as,
“Construction waste was recycled or reused to the greatest extent possible, and permanent recycling areas are incorporated for use by the seminary community.”
Other sustainable materials included the use of recycled and local materials such as the linoleum and salvaged wood from the site as flooring. High efficiency plumbing to reduce water usage and high efficient refrigerant units for climate control were installed. Low VOC adhesives and coatings were used.
The building is looking to receive LEED silver certification now that it is opened.
Not only is the building sustainable but the use of the site is also very economical. Lord Aeck Sargent created and maintained the park-like atmosphere stating,
“The surrounding landscape will be integrated into the existing campus giving the impression that the building has existed for many years.”
They saved as many trees as possible as the site was reworked. They also incorporated the site drainage and rerouted it to an underground detention system that gradually releases the water as needed for landscaping and irrigation. A rain water harvesting system is also being used.
It is crucial in modern design that all areas are considered in the design/renovation of existing and addition of new buildings. All factors are important such as, the landscape, land use, public spaces, interior/exterior open areas and the actual structures to be a truly sustainable environment.
The Vernon S. Broyles, Jr. Leadership Center at the Columbia Theological Center is a very beautiful and sustainable example of what existing and new buildings can become together if all design aspects are considered and smart practices are implemented.