Studio 804 is a graduate program for students entering their last year of the Master of Architecture program at the University of Kansas School of Architecture, Design and Planning. The course is different from most courses in that it is a hands-on design-build studio. The students work together from start to finish, designing and constructing their final project. They also enlist the help of local contractors – who donate their time and materials to the project. In the 2011-2012 school year, the graduates fulfilled Johnson County Community College’s (JCCC’s) need for more space with the Galileo Pavilion.
The Galileo Pavilion is expected to be a landmark on JCCC’s campus for sustainable initiatives. To showcase the sustainable construction, the students incorporated design features such as a living plant wall, green roof trays and a wind turbine as a part of the heating and cooling system. Even the exterior of the building was constructed from slate panels – reused chalkboards donated from regional school districts. These features will help the Galileo Pavilion qualify for a LEED Platinum rating. If it is awarded that honor, the building will be the fifth for Studio 804.
One sustainable element the students wanted to take advantage of was an environmentally friendly flooring option. The students wanted to show sustainability in their field by “utilizing the passive solar thermal mass of concrete,” according to Jon Hanes, a senior from KU’s Studio 804. They approached local flooring contractor, Mike Denny of Artistic Concrete Surfaces, to help them design and build a sustainable concrete floor throughout the space.
Denny thought Husqvarna’s HiPERFLOOR® system would be the perfect flooring finish; it is environmentally friendly and has a broad range of functions. It enhances the beauty and abrasion resistance of concrete floors, with the “best light reflectivity and clarity out of any polishing system,” said Denny. The students agreed and HiPERFLOOR® was selected as the flooring option.
One of the challenges of any flooring finish is starting with a good base. If polished concrete is the ultimate goal, it is important to be consistent when finishing the floor – ensuring it is mostly level and making sure chemicals (if any are used) are consistent. When installing a HiPERFLOOR®, the first step is to grind down the concrete to make a smooth, level surface for the final finish. When the students started grinding, they encountered a thick layer of curing compound. This caused a set back as it took twice as long to cut through the concrete surface to achieve the full aggregate look the students were after. Luckily, the Husqvarna PG 820 grinder features a dual cutting counter motion option, which helped the students cut through the floor.
All of the installation and surface preparation was performed by the students, although Artistic Concrete Surfaces provided two certified installers for guidance. Denny acknowledges the crew kept a good eye on the students to maintain the quality of the floor because, “it is better to have one installer run the machine all day to keep the floor consistent.” The team was very pleased with their finished product, achieving their overall goal of providing more space on the expanding campus.