Miller Hull studio grabs LBC’s 50th certification

Congratulations to the Miller Hull Partnership for gaining Living Building Challenge Petal certification for the renovation of its own Seattle studio.

“They are the first architecture firm to design both a fully certified Living Building and a Petal-certified project,” notes Amanda Sturgeon, CEO of the International Living Future Institute.

The 14,000-square-foot studio and office in downtown Seattle’s historic Polson Building stresses views of the Puget Sound and the city. It also takes an unusually flexible approach to workspaces. According to a statement from the design team:  “We are programmatically innovative and opted to not follow the trend of giving everyone an adjustable sit-stand desk, but rather provided alternative places for working which encourages people to move around.”

The Living Building Challenge is built around seven broad criteria, called “petals” — all of which must be attained for full certification. The Miller Hull project earned four of those: Place, Equity, Beauty and Materials — the last of which is particularly rigorous. It helped that Miller Hull commissioned custom furniture containing none of the “Red List” materials that are barred under the Materials petal.

According to a case study on the ILFI website, the fact that the space is a rented portion of a larger building made the LBC’s Energy and Water petals impractical.

Working within the limits of a Tenant Improvement, the project team could not feasibly pursue the Net Positive Energy and Water Petals of the Living Building Challenge, but was able to achieve great energy performance. Through careful design, the team was able to achieve an installed lighting power density of 0.25 W/SF. This compares to 2012 code limit of 0.90 W/SF for offices. This project shows that reaching well beyond the 2018 code requirement is financially viable today.

Miller Hull is well-known in LBC circles for designing the fully certified Bullitt Center in Seattle. The firm also is partnering with Atlanta-based Lord Aeck Sargent on the Living Building at Georgia Tech, which is currently undergoing design development. Miller Hull partner Brian Court was design lead for the Bullitt Center and is now design lead for the Georgia Tech building.