Design Sustainability: The Campus Center Project

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As work continues to create the next great place for the community to gather through the Campus Center Project, the Design-Build Team has worked to incorporate as many sustainable elements in the new Exhibition Hall, Pavilion, Café, and renovated Student Center as possible.  

Supporting Human Comfort

In a typical year, the Student Center buildings see over 17,000 visitors a day, not to mention the hundred or so occupants who make these buildings their office home. With all those humans planning to utilize the spaces created under the Campus Center project, it is important that the buildings were designed to comfortably accommodate the entire Georgia Tech community. 

The orientation of the exterior glass panels, as well as the high-performance glass itself, are optimized minimize the glare and temperature change that can plague occupants while also letting in more natural light and beauty affording views across campus. Additionally, the operable garage doors in the Exhibition Hall, Pavilion, and Rising Roll Cafe allow for natural ventilation for occupants when the weather allows. 

Universal access across the project site is improved. Walking through the site around the Student Center previously involved significant changes in grade that included inaccessible steep stairs. The future site will be focused around accessible pathways so the surrounding landscape can be enjoyed by everyone. Space utilization is improved to the entire community's benefit - making better use of functional circulation spaces and providing more shared meeting, office, and performance spaces that everyone can access. 


Promoting Fiscal Sustainability

Many sustainable elements of the Campus Center project are aimed at improving human comfort, but several of those choices and others were also meant to reduce cost over the lifetime of these buildings. 

A lot of attention was paid to the way daylight interacts with the building. Daylight studies helped optimize window placement, to minimize heat gain as well as identify locations to incorporate glare-minimizing glass frit. The all-LED lighting system is zoned to automatically turn off lights in unoccupied areas or to dim when daylight is abundant. 

Submetering and sensor-driven controls on the electrical and HVAC systems will allow for smarter utility usage through the site. Water will be saved across the site thanks to more efficient plumbing fixtures.  Rainwater captured in the Exhibition Hall's three large cisterns will be used to irrigate the landscaping which is planted with drought tolerant native and adaptive plants. 


Reducing Material Waste

Any time a project entails demolition and construction of buildings, there will be a lot of material in the mix. In this kind of project, the ability to reuse some elements and recycle the rest is essential to minimizing impact.  

The Design-Build Team worked to use the fewest raw materials possible, incorporating materials that contained recycled content (like the carpet and metal wall panels) and employing minimal interior finishes to use less material. Most notably, reusing the shell and structure of the Student Center's Wenn building that housed Tech Rec and the ballroom will save several tons of raw material and the associated energy in extraction and processing. 

The construction team has connected with the Lifecycle Building Company, Georgia Tech's Wreck Racing Team, and other groups to make use of the materials removed from the old Student Center that could not be used in the Campus Center project. Any materials that could not be salvaged were recycled. 

In the newly completed Exhibition Hall, Pavilion, and cafe, interior elements of recycled wood, salvaged from the old church on 10th Street were implemented. More reused materials are scheduled for install in the new Student Center. 

Keep an eye on the progress of the Student Center transformation and learn more at



  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Torise Battle Young
  • Created: 10/28/2020
  • Modified By: Torise Battle Young
  • Modified: 05/25/2022


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