What’s the post-COVID ‘new normal’ for green buildings?

New Normal COVID buildings
Shan Arora and the Kendeda Building team at Georgia Tech have put together a thought-provoking video that cracks a topic on a lot of minds in the design and construction industries: How will the pandemic change the trajectory of green buildings?

A dozen or so speakers — most of whom either worked on the building or now use it — offer a wide range of answers.

“The COVID pandemic reveals how fragile everything is as well as how resilient our species can be,” says Chris Hellstern, a Seattle architect at the Miller Hull Partnership, who helped select materials for the uber-green building on Georgia Tech’s campus. “Our new normal can be regenerative design that supports environmental and human health.”

One recurring theme is similar to a topic we addressed in an article last week on a post-COVID-19 design trend: Owners and designers are trying to incorporate more porches, green roofs and other outdoor spaces in their buildings. As several speakers on the video point out, they need look no further than regenerative projects such as the Kendeda Buildings for examples of how that’s working.

“The Kendeda Building is more of a hybrid building that is almost half nature and half human construction,” environmental engineering student Aravind Ganeson notes. He says he and other Atlantans appreciated the value of nature even more as they emerged from the initial shutdown during which  “We all took nature for granted. We didn’t realize how much we missed being outside and being surrounded by nature until we were forced to be indoors.”

The video tees up a virtual panel discussion to be held next week on the same topic. Three of the panelists play are associated with Georgia Tech:  Kim Cobb, Global Change Program director and professor of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences; architecture and civil engineering student Robin Cornel; and maintenance manager Marlon Ellis. The fourth panelist if Miller Hull Partnership architectural designer Matt Kikosicki.

To RSVP for the panel discussion, click here.

PHOTO AT TOP: Georgia Tech environmental official April Kelly says on the video: “This building was designed for maximum flexibility because we do not know what the future holds.” 

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