The Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia will transform education and research by setting a new benchmark as the world’s most sustainable academic lab building. The design’s innovative strategies — green roofs, living walls, water treatment system, photovoltaic cells, natural ventilation, daylight, double skin facades and a collaboration corridor — reinforce the spirit of founder Eugene Odum’s approach to ecosystem ecology by creating a living laboratory that will foster regenerative relationships between the student, researchers, visitors and the natural systems at work in the building and site.
The feasibility study completed for the Odum School of Ecology developed new understandings of how an intensive University Laboratory Building could potentially achieve the Living Building Challenge expectations.
As the world’s first living laboratory, Odum School of Ecology will mimic nature in its ability to harvest what it needs from the site and operate waste-free. The building focuses heavily on the life of water by thinking holistically and pedagogically about water. The students will learn about ecological wastewater treatment and employ the system to revitalize two existing watersheds and restore the site’s stream to its original connect ion with the Chattahoochee River.
The school will take advantage of its prominent site on campus, and its location along the path to Sanford stadium, to reach out to the almost 1.8 million visitors who visit the campus annually by offering tours and programs that educate about a more integrated way of living. The project is based on the principles of pedagogy, biodiversity, livability, energy, water and nutrient cycling. It demonstrates that the teaching process, research process and the physical building can be one and the same.