Launch Slideshow

To help achieve LEED Platinum, the architects used recycled timber, recycled paper-resin siding, trim, and countertops, as well as partially recycled zinc siding and recycled granite pavers.

Bagley Classroom Building

Bagley Classroom Building

  • The building was designed with Passivhaus principles, with heating primarily by direct passive solar gain from the south, and internal heat gain from equipment and occupants.

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    The building was designed with Passivhaus principles, with heating primarily by direct passive solar gain from the south, and internal heat gain from equipment and occupants.

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    Paul Crosby

    The building was designed with Passivhaus principles, with heating primarily by direct passive solar gain from the south, and internal heat gain from equipment and occupants.

  • The building was placed facing directly south to maximize solar heat gain in the winter and to maximize power production from photovoltaic panels.

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    The building was placed facing directly south to maximize solar heat gain in the winter and to maximize power production from photovoltaic panels.

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    Paul Crosby

    The building was placed facing directly south to maximize solar heat gain in the winter and to maximize power production from photovoltaic panels.

  • One diseased tree was removed, and in its place the architects put a fireplace.

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    One diseased tree was removed, and in its place the architects put a fireplace.

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    Paul Crosby

    One diseased tree was removed, and in its place the architects put a fireplace.

  • The outdoor court can be used for a second outdoor classroom, as well as for student bonfires.

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    The outdoor court can be used for a second outdoor classroom, as well as for student bonfires.

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    Paul Crosby

    The outdoor court can be used for a second outdoor classroom, as well as for student bonfires.

  • A draught-tolerant green roof helps insulate.

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    A draught-tolerant green roof helps insulate.

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    Paul Crosby

    A draught-tolerant green roof helps insulate.

  • The facility serves eight departments for outdoor teaching and study. The space is cooled by passive shading devices; and a heat-recovery ventilator provides a constant source of fresh air.

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    The facility serves eight departments for outdoor teaching and study. The space is cooled by passive shading devices; and a heat-recovery ventilator provides a constant source of fresh air.

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    Paul Crosby

    The facility serves eight departments for outdoor teaching and study. The space is cooled by passive shading devices; a heat-recovery ventilator provides a constant source of fresh air.

Salmela Architect • This new classroom building, situated on a 55-acre nature preserve with old-growth hardwood trees and a pond, is just shy of 2,000 square feet, but it serves no fewer than eight departments at the University of Minnesota Duluth. The university asked David Salmela to design a building that would have minimal environmental impact and would be, in spite of the harsh northern Minnesota climate, a net energy producer. To meet the German Passivhaus standard and attain LEED Platinum certification, Salmela designed the building as a superinsulated, virtually airtight shell made of 16-inch-thick structural insulated panel walls and roof, recycled wood beams, and partially recycled zinc siding. The south-facing orientation maximizes solar gain in the winter while also providing the best orientation for photovoltaic panels. “It’s environmental and clear and simple,” juror Bill Valentine said. Outside, Salmela added a plaza with a concrete fireplace on one side and a facing enclosure for firewood, creating an outdoor teaching space that can be used into the cooler fall months. “The way it makes a place, it would be an enormous asset to any school,” juror Donna Robertson said.


Project Credits

Bagley Classroom Building, Duluth, Minn.
Owner University of Minnesota Duluth—John Rashid (project manager)
Architect Salmela Architect, Duluth, Minn.—David Salmela (principal); Carly Coulson (project architect)
Mechanical/Electrical Engineer
Gausman & Moore—Jim Keller (principal)
Structural Engineer Meyer Borgman Johnson—Paul Johnson (principal)
Energy Consultant Conservative Technologies—Mike LeBeau (principal)
Civil Engineer Sale Engineering—David Salo (principal)
Contractor University of Minnesota, Duluth—John Rashid (project manager); Kevin Claus (project superintendent); Carly Coulson (post-construction certification consultant)
Size 1,995 square feet
Cost $500 per square foot
Photography Paul Crosby