On the west side of Georgia Tech’s campus sits the largest “living building” in the southern United States. Part of the School of Architecture at Georgia Tech, the recently-opened Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design building is home to classrooms, event spaces, an apiary, and a blueberry orchard.
From the outside, the building feels almost out of place for its urban surroundings. A combination of natural wood and cement with broad, large windows, the building seems like it should be in the middle of the woods instead of on a college campus in Atlanta. But that’s part of the design. Using reclaimed wood, windows that help regulate the temperature, and a sophisticated water reclamation system, the building is designed to barely make a blip on the ecological radar.
Salvaged materials mean this new building incorporates a lot of campus history. The bathroom tile was sourced from a roof update at the Georgia Tech Alumni Association building and the staircase treads are heart pine joists that were salvaged from a renovation of the 140-year-old Tech Tower.
The Kendeda Building also has a green roof, bees to produce honey, and more than 900 solar panels. Construction was largely completed in 2019, and the building opens for classes in January 2020.
Know Before You Go
The building is open to the public during normal business hours. A schedule of public tours can be found on the building’s website, and private tours are available by request.
It is about a mile from the nearest Marta station (Midtown station), about 2.2 miles from Ponce City Market (a great place for drinks and shopping). Parking can be tough, so walking or taking public transportation is recommended.