Sonoma Academy Durgin Guild & Commons

WRNS Studio

Sonoma Academy Durgin Guild & Commons

Architect: WRNS Studio

Size: 22,000 sf

Status: Completed in 2019

MSD Key Staff: David Mar

Awards and Certifications: 

  • AIA Committee on the Environment Top Ten, 2018
  • 2018 AIA CC Design Awards: Leading Edge
  • US Green Building Council Building Health Leadership Award, 2019
  • Living Building Challenge Petal and Zero Carbon Certified
  • Net Zero Energy Efficient
  • LEED Platinum certified

Embedded with maker/digital classrooms, productive gardens, offices and a full dining/kitchen, Sonoma Academy’s guiding principles of equity, community, and exploration inspired the Guild & Commons’ two sweeping floors, which stretch to views and integrate into the land. Sliding screens, automated shades, and deep overhangs relay how the building responds to climate. Sustainable materials include regionally sourced low-carbon blocks, reclaimed beams, and exterior and interior siding. The living roof attracts pollinators, houses photovoltaics, and connects to tiered planters that filter greywater and stormwater for reuse. We specified low cement concrete and collaborated with Watershed Materials to design exposed rammed earth block walls using local materials (the first use of these in the county). We also designed integrated thermal breaks in the exposed steel connections to reduce thermal bridging and improve the building’s energy performance. Additional structural design highlights include exposed mass timber roof eaves and design for optimized vibration performance at exterior walkways. This project was the first to achieve both Zero Carbon and Petal Certifications from the Living Building Challenge, as well as the first building in California to receive Zero Carbon Certification.

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