When Buildings Teach: Exploring the Kohler Environmental Center

Some schools build environmentally responsible buildings; some schools teach environmental responsibility. The Kohler Environmental Center, a laboratory for living at Choate Rosemary Hall, brings these two objectives together. The new LEED-Platinum academic and residential facility, designed to achieve net-zero energy usage, accommodates cohorts of 20 students for a total-immersion environmental living education. As students live at the center and take their classes and meals there, the building offers them control of their own environment; feedback from the building’s monitoring systems enables them to teach themselves important lessons about how to live sustainably and responsibly.

This Salon presentation will focus on the planning and design of the Kohler Center, and the panel will discuss how to bring together building, landscape, and curriculum to support an interdisciplinary course of environmental study. Emilie Hagen of Atelier Ten will introduce the project and present the challenges of achieving the highest level of LEED certification and net-zero-energy usage in a 24-hour intensive-use academic building. Kevin M. Smith, Partner at RAMSA, will discuss the integration of the site, program, and sustainable systems for the 31,325-square-foot facility. Craig Razza of Kohler Ronan will discuss the sustainable systems selected to maximize efficiency at the Kohler Center and the lessons learned. Joe Scanio, the Program Director for the Kohler Environmental Center at Choate Rosemary Hall, will detail the key components of the academic program, including the development of an interdisciplinary curriculum and immersive experience for the students and faculty, who are each held accountable for their own energy usage.


Event Details:

  • When: 

    Thursday, October 3, 2013
    6:00 pm - 8:00pm

  • Where: 

    Robert A.M. Stern Architects
    460 West 34th Street
    20th Floor
    New York, NY

  • More information: 

    Event website.

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