The 15,000-square-foot addition to the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan adds studio space, project critique space, and offices, as well as specific functions such as research space, classrooms, and a reading library. The original building, completed in 1973, is constructed of steel, brick, and curtain wall and is on the University of Michigan's North Campus.
From the inception of the project, the university’s goal has been to create a highly sustainable building addition that will be an example of the integration of energy efficiency and design and a dynamic teaching tool for daylighting strategies, shading, natural ventilation, displacement ventilation, mechanical energy efficiency, and renewable energy generation.
The architect, the Miller|Hull Partnership, chose ENERGY STAR to verify that the Addition was designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to an average building. The firm has also been active in EPA’s online training program “Designing Top Energy Performing Buildings for Your Clients” and is sharing energy efficiency and ENERGY STAR knowledge with its partners.
The firm believes that university students are keenly aware of the environmental impact of wasted energy, and they will continue to learn from the design of the Addition as they work on their own studio projects. This dedication to energy efficiency made it vitally important that the project strive for superior energy performance and sustainability.
The university has worked very closely with the Miller|Hull Partnership to produce an addition that meets the goals of Architecture 2030, the American Institute of Architects, and the U.S. Green Building Council by designing the Addition to emit 50 percent fewer greenhouse gases compared to an average building.
The south facing façade of the Addition will be transparent and can be readily tapped for energy and sustainable strategies. Large sections of the curtain wall slide open to provide the potential for natural ventilation during milder months. Kinetic, exterior motorized blinds automatically shade the glazing from direct sun in the cooling season and retract in the heating season to provide supplemental passive solar heat. A series of fixed louvers below the floor line of the Addition shade offices in the existing building during the summer. The south façade is intended to be an armature for further student exploration of passive and active strategies for controlling and harvesting sunlight. The Addition is completely daylit with a minimum 2 percent daylight factor. The goal for the project is that no general, artificial illumination will be required during daylight hours.
Heating and air conditioning for the Addition are delivered from the floor, allowing cooling temperatures to be higher and heating temperatures to be lower. When humidity and temperature are favorable outside, operable windows low in the curtain wall and high in the opposite wall clerestory are used to draw ventilation air naturally through the Addition. A 92 percent efficient condensing boiler heats water for the air handler, and high-output T-5 fluorescent lamps are used throughout the Addition.
Architect of Record:
Miller|Hull Partnership, LLP
PAE Consulting Engineers, Inc.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI
Design Rating / % Energy and CO₂ Reduction*:
90 / 46%
Design / Completion Date:
2008 / 2010
Estimated Energy Use
Estimated Total Annual
Estimated Annual Energy Cost:
Daylighting strategies, curtain wall with kinetic motorized blinds, energy-efficient lighting and windows, and condensing boiler.
For More Information:
Ron Rochon, AIA
Miller|Hull Partnership, LLP
*Percent Energy and CO₂ Reductions are compared with an average building of similar type.