The University of Kentucky President's Sustainability Advisory Committee announced the 2015 Sustainability Challenge Grant recipients and recognized them at the annual Sustainability Forum and Research Showcase, December 1, at the UK Boone Center. UK/CoD Assistant Professor of Architecture Martin Summers in collaboration with Co-PI Michael Wilson of the UK Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) received one of seven Sustainability Challenge Grants to continue their sustainable transit shelter research on the University of Kentucky campus. The project titled "Point of Departure: Place Making and Identity Via Integrated, Didactic & Sustainable Transit Shelters" was awarded the largest single grant to date in the expanding program on campus ($49,991).
The project consists of a cross-disciplinary team of faculty, campus stakeholders, campus master planners, students and industry leading expert consultants exploring issues of identity, networks, grid-tied solar, enhanced user experience and educational outreach conveyed via campus infrastructure. The team leverages design thinking to demonstrate applied research at the university as well as engaging the community through interactive education about sustainability and design.
In the public forum for the Draft Transportation Master Plan on October 8 and 9, the project was directly referenced as part of parallel work that is coordinated with the future plans implementation and was noted on the slide as “Will Be Built!”
Link to Current Project Pamphlet: Point of Departure
The team leading the Point of Departure project. Photo by Carlos Gutierrez (c)
Excerpt from the "Relevance and Concept" portion of the application:
An increased desire for better public transit is a result of global urbanization driving demand. In fact, many cities and numerous campuses, have invested in public transit as a core element of a sustainable city that conveniently moves people between destinations and improves their quality of life . This is locally verified with the U-PASS system  and the recently revealed UK Transportation Master Plan draft. The draft supports and highlights our project to integrate multi-modal options for an improved campus transit experience. In parallel, public consciousness of sustainable thinking’s value to an increasingly “conscious consumer” is growing . This provides a local to global context to rethink the question, what is a transit shelter?
Our project began simply: Develop a sustainable transit shelter on campus to explore ideas of architecture, engineering, sustainability and interdisciplinary collaboration. It quickly became clear that to see it within these limited terms represented a huge missed opportunity. This is our Point of Departure.
We need to reimagine our urban campus through strategic acupuncture; a series of interactive, networked, didactic, and iconic structures. Transit shelters are ideally located along major public thoroughfares at the edges of campus, maximizing their impact, engagement and visibility. Each design reveals latent site opportunities to outwardly express its integrated identity to students, visitors, Lexington and beyond. The structure and site link master planning concepts of programmed green space with sustainable transit and energy production creating event spaces for students that are not often associated with a transit shelter.
STARS: The project intentionally challenges pre-conceived types and boundaries conceptually, physically and categorically. Therefore to define specific STARS points becomes a question of degree. Our project integrates many of the points, so we will address them by their major headings. Bold numbers below indicate major contribution.
Academics --AC 1, 5, 8, 9, 10: Our project engages faculty, staff, administration, graduate and undergraduate students in an interactive process with the end result being an enhanced and potentially educational experience for transit users and pedestrians moving to and from campus. It is academic research transforming the campus into a “Living Laboratory.”
Engagement -- EN 3, 4, 9, 10: We intend to publish the project in multiple venues to broaden its reach. The project will link local professionals and students with national/international experts increasing the local knowledge and expertise of sustainable issues, design, and integration. The project is founded in student driven cross-disciplinary, multi-department expertise brought to bear on a campus/urban issue where campus and city stakeholders have a vested interest in its success.
Operations -- OP 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 19, 20, 21, 24, 27: The project integrates sustainable thinking and design principles that address a multitude of issues within a single project, at a given budget. We will produce a net-zero structure with integrated solar energy production and address rainwater management to support the adjacent landscape.
Innovation: Our project at its ethos strives to be innovative and therefore we feel that it will support 1-6 and 9 in the criteria.
2. "Transportation: Public Transit." Baltimore Office of Sustainability Web. 2013. < http://www.baltimoresustainability.org/transportation/public-transit >.
3. “New Partnership Allows UK Students, Faculty, Staff to Ride Lextran Buses for Free with Wildcard ID.” Lextran website. June 16, 2015. < http://www.lextran.com/blog/2015/06/new-partnership-allows-uk-students-faculty-staff-to-ride-lextran-buses-for-free-with-wildcard-id >
4. Schlecht, Kathy. "Conscious Consumers and public transit." Insights into the Conscious Consumer Web. 13 Mar. 2014. < http://blog.claritycoverdalefury.com/conscious-consumers-public-transit/>.
The announcement was featured on the UK Now and the UK/CoD website.