The Klaus Advanced Computing Building A Case
Study in Flexible, Sustainable Design for Computer Science Research
Gary C. McNay, Perkins
The 210,000 square foot Klaus advanced computing building at Georgia
Institute of Technology will house advanced computing research laboratories
for the College of Computing and Electrical and Computing Engineering.
With this project 486 surface parking spaces move underground into
a 210,000 square foot parking deck, 2 major pedestrian pathways
will be created, and multiple buildings and landscapes are physically
connected to form a cohesive computing engineering center for the
campus. The building includes instructional labs and classrooms
for the core building users and the campus as a whole. This project
advances new strategies in storm water management and flexible building
and infrastructure systems strategies. Natural daylight and artificial
indirect lighting are seamlessly joined to provide a solution which
exceeds the highest standards for visual comfort in computer rich
environments, and provides for a 40 percent reduction in the heat
load generated by light fixtures. The building as a whole is 40
percent more efficient than required by current energy codes and
is expected to receive a LEED Silver rating.
The poster illustrates land use, site goals and ecology, community
design and construction, water use, energy performance, energy security,
daylighting analysis, and rain garden detail.
In planning and designing The Klaus Advanced Computing Building,
we discovered important lessons that apply to computer-specific
laboratories, as well as to general laboratories.
The planning team confronted particular challenges specific to computer
laboratories. Design strategies related to raised flooring, lighting,
and furniture selection were formulated to meet the unique needs
of a technology lab. Meeting the distinct planning and construction
challenges inherent in a computer labspecifically, power and
data wire management and distributed, server-driven, cooling loadsprovided
valuable strategies and solutions throughout this project.
Lessons that can be applied to a broad spectrum of laboratory planning
and design emerged during this project. Particularly useful was
learning how to support collaboration inside and outside the lab
space. The costs and benefits of various sustainable design strategiesincluding
DOE2 energy modeling and lifecycle cost payback analysisbecame
readily apparent. The process of pursuing LEED certification
for the building revealed the costs and benefits of committing to
The decision to design The Klaus Advanced Computing Building using
sustainable laboratory concepts impacted the entire approach. This
poster explains specific methods used to achieve a sustainable,
- The concept of rapid design prototyping using 3-D computer models
and animations was employed to gain quick consensus on design
- Upfront cost modeling with continuous management of the costs
of each individual discipline was utilized to establish goals
and track performance.
- A broad range of sustainable water efficiency strategies are
a part of the design approach. Rain gardens, biofiltration, and
condensate harvesting are provided to create a stable landscape
without piped, metered water.
- To achieve lighting optimization and reduce energy consumption,
the building has full use of t-5 high output indirect fixtures
with occupancy sensors, daylight sensors, and continuous 1 percent
By explaining the process and methods used in a sustainable approach
to laboratory designand in particular, the design of an advanced
computer labthe poster illustrates how these strategies lead
to added efficiency and continued improvement throughout the life
of the building.
Gary C. McNay is a senior member of the Science and Technology
team at Perkins & Will. His role is to lead all phases of the
programming, planning and design for public and private academic
teaching and research labs. Over an 18-year career, Gary has planned,
programmed, designed and managed new and renovation projects with
construction value over $450 million for higher education clients.
Recent experience includes: Laboratory/Science buildings at Spelman
College, Georgia Institute of Technology, Winona Stare University,
Birmingham Southern College, and the University of Texas Arlington.
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