The Health and Wellness Building 30 is intended to operate “as a living, breathing organism”. In the middle of the structure is the Alveolus, in humans this is a part of the lung that lets oxygen enter and carbon dioxide leave the blood stream. For Building 30, the Alveolus is a 180 feet long and 38 foot tall “lung”. The exterior windows have upper louvers and when these open it funnels the air that is in the building thru chimneys that were built into the Alveolus. These chimneys lead to the top of the 180 foot skylight that opens allowing spent air to exit the building. Thus the building will always have fresh air inside it, and at the same time the building temperature is also regulated so the building does not have an air conditioning system. The building is designed to meet the LEED Silver rating for energy efficiency and sustainability.
The second function of the Alveolus is that it serves as a light well for both floors of the building. DeGlas is a clear or semi clear polymer product that was chosen, and there is 34,000 square feet installed over the steel stud framing with 24,000 lineal feet of custom broke finish aluminum trim pieces. This product is usually used for building greenhouse and had been used in some architectural designs. The product allows the vestibules and classrooms to have warm daylight shine through them while lessening the overall carbon footprint of the building.
The design of Building 30 took the DeGlas product in a direction that had not been done before. This application of the product required close coordination between WPI, SRG (architect), and DeGlas to keep the aesthetic look that was designed. This product is not usually field modified and that is what had to be done for each piece installed. Depending on the wall types WPI used 3 layers of 5/8” thick material on each side of the wall framing. This was done to achieve the acoustic and thermal ratings needing to be met. Attaching the aluminum trim pieces to the DeGlas was another challenge that with research and open communication WPI was able to resolve these issues. Thus achieving a crisp, clean finished look when the DeGlas finishes combined with the bamboo, and drywall finishes.
Building 30 has now opened to the public and has received great reviews from the college, SRG, and environmental organizations.