Kunz-Brundige Franklin County Extension Building recognized by the American Institute of Architects

By Tracy Turner

COLUMBUS, Ohio–The new Kunz-Brundige Franklin County Extension Building has been recognized by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) for its sustainable design and architectural excellence. The 10,500-square-foot building is the first of three new facilities planned for Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory on The Ohio State University’s Columbus campus. The building is a part of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

Kunz-Brundige Franklin County Extension Building. Photo: Brad Feinknopf, Feinknopf photography.

AIA presented the following awards for the Kunz-Brundige building: a Merit Award, an Honor Award, and a Sustainability Award. The building, which was designed by Philadelphia-based Erdy McHenry Architecture, was recognized for its:

  • concept, which minimizes disturbance to the surrounding research fields and aligns with adjacent agricultural structures. The ground has been lifted rather than displaced by the building, and to create an elevated green roof that camouflages the building from an aerial view, allowing it to blend into the surrounding crop and garden plots.
  • program outreach. Each space in the building serves a purpose that focuses on a “learn by doing” mentality. The layout provides panoramic views of the pastoral setting and prioritizes daylighting to all program spaces.
  • sustainable practices. The building’s vegetated roof provides added insulation and reduces the ambient temperature of the roof while its vegetation absorbs and filters rainwater. The building also enhances daylighting, uses sustainable materials, and accommodates electric vehicles. It also enhances the surrounding environment and creates a teachable facility where occupants can better understand sustainable practices.
Kunz-Brundige Franklin County Extension Building. Photo: Brad Feinknopf, Feinknopf photography.

The Kunz-Brundige building was made possible thanks to an $11 million gift from Patricia Brundige, which will also support two endowed Franklin County 4-H educator positions and an endowed Franklin County support fund.

Ohio State University Extension and Ohio 4-H youth development are, respectively, CFAES’ statewide outreach and youth development programs. 

The Franklin County office of Ohio State University Extension offers diverse programming in the areas of 4-H youth development, family and consumer sciences, community development, and agriculture and natural resources. Annually, more than 12,000 youths participate in enrichment programs, and more than 6,000 adults learn about agriculture and natural resources-related topics.