The Georgia Institute of Technology developed a new center for student innovation in the heart of its campus, which occupies over 400 acres in central Atlanta. The goal of the new Clough Undergraduate Learning Center (CULC) is to facilitate interdisciplinary work between engineering students from across Georgia Tech’s individual Colleges of Computing, Engineering and Sciences.

Georgia Tech’s vision and goals for the project included a truly sustainable agenda as part of a campus-wide effort to improve stormwater management, habitat enhancement and preservation, and other key goals. Working in collaboration with BCJ Architects, AECOM provided full landscape design services for the five-story, 220,000 square-foot site surrounding the new center.

Our design for the landscape included a 1.4 million gallon cistern to collect all stormwater from the site. The cistern is linked to the building and provides an impressive 89% rate of water reuse (for toilet flushing and site irrigation), reducing stromwater discharge into the municipal system—a big issue in Atlanta.

The project also included the design of an 18,000 square-foot roof garden, more than half of which is green roof. The green roof minimizes and filters stormwater runoff, while reducing the heat island effect.

Along with locally sourced materials, our planting palette included nearly 40 native species, and the paving was designed to reduce the heat island effect throughout the commons.

The site is also replete with solar thermal and phovoltaic panels, day-lit spaces, smart lighting systems, and additional sustainable elements, such an interactive sustainability dashboard, which earned the project LEED Platinum certification—the industry’s highest recognition of sustainable design.

BCJ Architects