Designed by WRNS Studio, the Project Integrates Biophilic Principles with Active and Passive Conservation Strategies
Sonoma Academy’s Janet Durgin Guild & Commons wins an AIA COTE (Committee on the Environment) Top Ten Award, the industry’s best-known award program for sustainable design excellence. Each year, the program recognizes 10 projects that integrate design excellence and environmental performance. Designed by WRNS Studio as part of a campus-wide expansion, the school utilizes a nature-and-human-centered design approach focused on active and passive systems that encourage environmental, social and community conscious learning and living.
“The project is a story of possibility, demonstrating the power of teamwork, sustainability and inspiration,” said WRNS Studio Partner, Director of Sustainability and Project Manager Pauline Souza. “The beauty of the site, and school’s commitment to the community and to the environment, informed the building’s structural and sustainable stylishness”.
The new 22,000-square-foot building houses maker and digital media studios, student support services, indoor / outdoor dining, an all induction commercial kitchen, and a teaching kitchen / meeting room that overlooks the school’s productive gardens and the maker classroom patio.
According to the jurors, “This project demonstrates that, even with an energy-heavy program that includes a commercial kitchen, a fully integrated and dedicated design team can produce a beautiful and extremely well-performing building”.
Sonoma Academy’s guiding principles of creativity, inclusive community, exploration and innovation, coupled with a humanistic approach to education, was the inspiration for the two sweeping floors that begin in the heart of the campus and face the horizon with amazing views of Santa Rosa. Sliding screens, automated shades, visible radiant system controls, and deep overhangs relay how the building responds to climate. Regionally-sourced low carbon block, ceramic tiles, reclaimed beams, and exterior and interior sliding, pair with regionally-made lamps and furniture to celebrate community. The living roof attracts pollinators, houses photovoltaics, and connects to tiered planters that filter greywater and stormwater for reuse.
The project is seeking LEED Platinum, ZNE, WELL Education Pilot, and LBC Petal certifications. It’s the first project in Sonoma County and one of the few to use these benchmarks simultaneously.