Net-Zero-Ready Student Union
The Peter B. Lewis Gateway Center is a highly sustainable, mixed-use development that serves as the front door to Oberlin College and the city of Oberlin, Ohio. It is the first step in achieving the goals of the college’s new Green Arts District, a 13-acre-block initiative designed to bring the arts and sciences together and create a transformative, 100 percent sustainable area.
The four-story building includes the college’s admissions department and other offices, a flexible learning space called the OC Studio, a restaurant and bar, basement-level nightclub, and 11,000 square feet of ground-level retail. The centerpiece of the Gateway Center is the new, 70-key Hotel at Oberlin.
The Gateway Center utilizes a groundbreaking mix of first-of-its-kind sustainable technologies, including the use of radiant heating and cooling tied to a geothermal field – a first for a U.S. hotel. The building has achieved LEED Platinum and has the capability to reach net-zero energy consumption once it is tied in with the college’s solar farm.
During the concept planning phase, the design team invested in extensive collaborative planning and evaluation of alternative design approaches for building orientation and layout, site development, building envelope and shading, and alternate infrastructure systems. The process involved extensive energy modeling, life-cycle analysis, and net zero energy analysis of innovative alternative designs. The final energy model predicts overall building energy savings of 45.5 percent compared to a baseline building designed to ASHRAE 90.1-2007, as required for LEED 2009.
The site posed many challenges, requiring the planning and demolition of existing structures and the relocation and extension of some site utilities. Revit was the BIM platform used by all design and construction team members.