Green roofs, living walls, “plants at work” to improve indoor air quality, and student gardens next to the building – all offered intriguing ideas tied to broader agricultural research initiatives on campus. With the 500-acre Berea College Farm serving as an educational laboratory for students, and a working model of sustainable agriculture in the region, it made sense for the project team to partner with the Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) program at Berea.
Together with Dr. Sean Clark, director of ANR, designers explored opportunities to enhance both interior and exterior spaces as living/learning environments. The Living Building Challenge, in particular, seeks to connect food production with a building project. After evaluating these alternatives, it was determined the best approach would be to include several gardening plots for residents just a short walk from the building in the College Farm’s community garden.