Miller Bicentennial Hall at Kimball Union Academy: A Signature Academic Building - 3 of 3

Part three concludes our case study of Miller Bicentennial Hall. Learn more about UK Architects’ project here.


Adaptive re-use and energy efficiency

Giving new life to an existing resource is an act of sustainability. An original campus plan called for demolition of the Miller Building. Instead, UK Architects took advantage of the building’s solid foundation and repurposed it, thus retaining the embodied energy of the many lives that flowed through its original doors.

Light and air

UK Architects ensured the building’s energy efficiency by improving the thermal envelope with insulation and paying attention to the elements of light and air within and without the building. New, high-efficiency lighting uses less energy, and lighting controls such as occupancy sensors and daylight monitors allow the building to self-monitor its energy use to a degree. Effective air-sealing allows for optimal energy use, and a mechanical system with an extremely high coefficient of performance saves energy. CO2 monitors help control the introduction of fresh air, creating a space with less waste. Natural light was also taken into consideration, such as in atrium-style library reading room.


Beautiful, impressive and practical

Cynthia Howe, Director of Studies and Academic Support, noticed the great care, thoughtfulness and responsiveness of UK Architects. “We faced an enormous challenge to successfully combine our vision of an accessible thriving academic support center for students with the reality of space limitations,” she says. “At every step in the planning process, Chris Kennedy and his staff listened attentively and offered creative options to meet our needs.” Faculty and students alike enjoy the flexibility and beauty of the space. “What a joy it is to work in a facility where function and form are perfectly matched.”

Mike Schafer, Head of School at Kimball Union, sees UK Architects as valuable partners in the school’s campus master planning process. He expresses that UK Architects skillfully enhanced and repurposed the existing Miller Building to honor its historic heritage, while updating it with 21st century amenities and features. He values UK Architects’ understanding of the important relationship of form and function and their ability to work with various end users including faculty, students and administrators, explaining that UK Architects design designs “are at once beautiful, impressive and practical.”