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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Aug. 20, 2009

New King Pavilion is university model for sustainable design

by Heather Sauer, Design

The construction fences are down. The crane is gone. The piles of dirt have disappeared. And 20 feet above ground, a roof is in full bloom. Iowa State's first green roof atop the College of Design's King Pavilion is hard at work, reducing stormwater runoff, moderating the building's temperature and converting carbon dioxide to oxygen.

The roof is one of several green components in the new $6.6 million addition that will provide much-needed instructional studio space for design students, beginning Aug. 24. It also will be dedicated that day.

The 23,735-gross-square-foot facility was designed under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines to meet the highest green building and performance measurements. As a result, the building and the surrounding grounds will serve as a laboratory for the study of sustainable design practices, and reinforce principles of environmental stewardship within the college and the university.

"The King Pavilion is about walking the talk," said Luis Rico-Gutierrez, Design dean. "As we talk to our students about the complexities of sustainability, we will be able to point to this facility and use it as an example of how it is done."

Instructional space

The King Pavilion features a central, two-story "forum" surrounded by instructional studios, previously housed across the street in the 75-year-old Armory.

The new facility will be home to freshmen in the college's core design program, as well as upperclassmen in professional degree programs. It was dean emeritus Mark Engelbrecht's dream that students from all design programs be integrated in the same work area, creating opportunities for interaction and collaboration.

This fall, 16 sections of 23 freshmen each will use the classrooms on the ground floor. The ground floor also will have a general critique area and three studios for upper-level students. Seven studios for upper-level students are located on the top floor.

Green and energy-saving features

Designed by RDG Planning & Design, Des Moines, the King Pavilion was begun in April 2008 and completed in June. The facility showcases several green and energy-saving techniques.

  • Green roof
    The living roof is sown with 20 varieties of hardy, colorful plants (including 14 varieties of sedum) in a gravel-sand medium, underpinned with three layers of substrate materials that control moisture flow and protect the roof membrane.
  • Stormwater management
    The site around the building was developed to demonstrate water-retention techniques. Percolation allows the water to seep back into the soil instead of being piped directly into the storm sewers. And, detention cells under permeable paved areas and at the base of the triangular hill on the northwest corner of the pavilion slow surface rainwater flow into local storm sewers.
  • Water conservation
    To reduce water consumption, restrooms in the King Pavilion have dual-flush toilets, the first installed on campus. The two-button flushing system permits users to manually select the water volume of each flush.
  • Natural ventilation
    A significant portion of the new building is ventilated naturally with operable windows. Because the King Pavilion will not be used during the summer, it is not air-conditioned, but has moving air and dehumidification. Motion and carbon dioxide sensors in the building switch blowers on automatically to circulate air when they detect occupants in the studios.
  • Daylighting
    Clerestory windows on both levels of the building as well as the doghouse (the sloped central section of roof) reduce the need for artificial lighting. Sensors throughout the facility monitor occupancy and light levels and automatically turn lights on and off as needed.
  • Construction materials
    To meet LEED requirements, the building had to include partially recycled materials from within a 500-mile radius around Ames. The King Pavilion uses 75 percent recycled steel, rock bedding from Missouri and recycled, 100-percent cotton blue jean insulation. During construction, 90 percent of all waste generated was recycled.


The King Pavilion will be dedicated during a ceremony at 5:15 p.m. Monday, Aug. 24, in the Lightfoot Forum of the College of Design. A reception and tour of the facility will follow at 6 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.