Sonoma Academy's Janet Durgin Guild & Commons

Sonoma Academy's Janet Durgin Guild & Commons, WRNS Studio

Designed by WRNS Studio, Sonoma Academy's Janet Durgin Guild & Commons, integrates biophilic principles with innovative design and engineering solutions to meet the school's strict sustainability goals. 

Sited at the base of Taylor Mountain with panoramic views of Sonoma Valley, sunlight, fresh air, and connection to nature drove the design. The two-story, 19,500-sf, Y-shaped education center - a hybrid maker space, cooking lab, cafeteria, and learning facility -- nestles into hillsides, utilizing the slope to form clear programmatic levels while framing views. Sheathed with an operable, transparent skin, a lattice of sliding wood screens, and deep overhangs, the building is intertwined with natural pathways that connect courtyards and flow around terraced learning environments. 

Active design strategies supplement passive ones, featuring geoexchange / radiant systems to drive down energy use and water demand. The mechanical system captures waste heat from the commercial kitchen's ventilation air and refrigeration system, using it for heating and domestic hot water. The living roof attracts pollinators, provides insulation, and keeps the PV's undersides cool. Cascading planters filter rainwater which is captured for reuse, resulting in 88% of the building's total nonpotable water demand.

Materials adhere to CDPH, EPD, HPD, ILFI's Red List filters. All wood is FSC-certified. The kitchen is 100% electric. Regional earthblock was sourced for its low carbon emissions and naturally heat-regulating and water-resistant properties.

The building seeks LEED Platinum, ZNE, WELL Education Pilot, Living Building Challenge certifications, and LBC Material and Energy Petals; expected 2018/2019. It's one of the few in America to simultaneously use these benchmarks. It's projected to achieve net positive EUI of -4.85 kBtu/sqft/year.

As a result of its sustainable design, it won: 2018 AIA COTE Top Ten Award, Building Design + Construction's 2018 Building Team Awards Honorable Mention, 2018 Acterra Business Environmental Awards finalist, 2017 California ZNE School Team Leadership Award.