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JCCC's strategic plan calls for the college to champion environmental sustainability in the curriculum and to transform the campus into a living laboratory. With these goals in mind Galileo’s Pavilion is a LEED Platinum Certified building that occupies a prominent position at the heart of the campus. It includes two classrooms and a student lounge designed to surround Galileo’s Garden, a sculpture commissioned in 1984 and created by Kansas City artist Dale Eldred. The sculpture functions as a timepiece and honors the spirit of Galileo Galilei. Suspended on steel cables at the center is a stainless steel disk with a hole in its center. The sun shines through this hole onto etched lines on a nickel-coated plate. Each line denotes the 21st day of each month. This was an interesting parallel to the work of Studio 804.

Galileo’s Pavilion appropriately takes advantage of these daily and seasonal cycles. Frosted glass louvers are calculated to allow the low winter sun to penetrate the rooms, heating the thermal mass of the concrete floors. The louvers block the sun in summer and concrete floors remain cool. Natural ventilation is promoted with operable windows and skylights so the building can be naturally cooled.  Rainwater harvesting and natural daylighting reduce the need for artificial lighting and potable water as well as support the interior living walls that grace the lounge and classrooms.  PV’s and a wind turbine covert the sun and wind into electricity that powers the building. These features coupled with the advanced mechanical system, occupancy sensors and high performance envelope not only provide efficient heating and cooling but also reduce the operating costs and extend the life of the building. The building is targeted over a calendar year to produce 70% of its energy needs and reduce the consumption of domestic drinking water by up to 50%.

The materials for both the structure and the finishes at Galileo’s Pavilion were chosen to reduce the use of resources, For example, the façade of the building is clad with a slate panel rainscreen made from reclaimed chalkboards gathered from the demolition of obsolete school buildings in the Midwest and insulated glass units salvaged from a large nearby development that was halted after the glass units had been produced.

Images and Plans

Technical Description

With a very few exceptions all of this work is built by the students. From the moment a Studio 804 class gathers in August the work is hands-on.  Even the design phase includes working on mock ups.  We do everything ourselves; the students are on site every day working on the excavation, pouring concrete, framing walls, welding steel, laying masonry, installing roofing, folding flashings, and setting windows and doors. We run plumbing lines and set fixtures, and we even do work on the mechanical systems and as electricians.   In short, there is little about building the students won’t have a chance to experience during a Studio 804 project.




  • LEED Platinum Certified
  • The air tight envelope and highly insulated walls and reduce heat transfer.
  • The building uses high efficiency light fixtures, mechanical systems and plumbing fixtures to minimize the use of resources.
  • The floors are a concrete solar mass to store the heat that passes through the glazing of the long south elevation.
  • The glass louvers are calculated to manage the sun’s penetration into the space depending on the season while still allow daylight to pass through.
  • The building’s orientation and the locations of the openings promote cross ventilation for cooling.
  • The roofing is a highly reflective white single-ply membrane to reduce the heat island effect.
  • All the rainwater from the roof is harvested and stored in an underground cistern and used to flush the toilets and water the living walls. This combined with efficient fixture targets a 50% reduction in the use of potable water.
  • The PV’s on the roof and the wind turbine meets 70% of the building’s energy needs over a calendar year.
  • Net metering is used to credit the university when the building is generating more energy than it is consuming.
  • All of the materials, paints, flooring, sealants and adhesives used inside the addition emit low or no volatile organic compounds
  • The framing is done with engineered lumber which is manufactured from fast growing underutilized lumber.
  • The living walls in the classrooms and lounge naturally filters the interior air cleaning it of toxins.
  • The slate panel rainscreen is made from reclaimed chalkboards gathered from the demolition of obsolete school buildings.
  • The insulated glass units salvaged from a large nearby development that was halted after the glass units had been produced.




Johnson County Community College
Johnson County Community College


Architecture 16 Students


Project Start:2011
Year of Completion:2012