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WUSTL's Living Learning Center shares the world's first full 'Living Building' certification

" said Jonathan M. Chase, PhD, professor of biology in Arts & Sciences and director of the Tyson Research Center.

"So I said we need to go beyond LEED and go beyond green and create something really out there. One other field station had done something similar the Jasper Ridge Field Station at Stanford University and Stanford is a world leader in green building.

"That was the proposal I took to Ed Macias, who was then dean of Arts & Sciences," Chase said. "This was a long time ago, before we knew anything about the Living Building Challenge.

"But when we had a need for a building, we hired the architect Daniel F. Hellmuth, a principal at Hellmuth + Bicknese Architects, who have extensive experience in sustainable design. Hellmuth suggested we try for the Living Building Challenge. And then the whole university just got behind it and ran with it.

"But it was the university, the Tyson staff, the architects and engineers, and the contractors who took this big fluffy vision and made it real," Chase said.

A thing of beauty

The living building challenge requires that buildings be inspiring and beautiful as well as functional, and some parts of the project fell naturally and beautifully into place.

The eastern red cedar siding on the building came from trees harvested at Tyson within two miles of the building as part of a habitat restoration project.

"We were taking down the cedar trees," Chase said. "It's a native tree, but it is growing more densely than it used to because of fire suppression. And we just got a big grant to restore glades, so I'm quite proud of the fact that we're doing science in chopping down these trees and doing sustainable architecture using them to side the building."

The building itself is a restoration, as an article in the fall 2010 issue of High Performing Buildings that showcased the Living Learning Center pointed out. It was sited on an asphalt parking

Contact: Diana Lutz
Washington University in St. Louis

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WUSTL's Living Learning Center shares the world's first full 'Living Building' certification
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