Chase and Hellmuth discuss the trials and tribulations of building one of the greenest structures in North America

Achieving a very small carbon footprint

The new Living Learning Center at Washington University’s Tyson Research Center was designed to meet the stringent requirements for becoming the greenest building in North America. To meet those standards required solutions to environmental, architectural, and legal challenges never before experienced by designers.

Two persons instrumental in the successful design of the Center — Jonathan Chase, associate professor of biology in the Department of Biology and Environmental Studies in Arts & Sciences and Tyson’s director; and Daniel Hellmuth, principal and co-founder of Hellmuth & Bicknese Architects, L.L.C. — will deliver a talk about the Center and its challenges for the Assembly Series at 5 p.m. Thursday, September 24 in Wilson Hall Room 214. The program is free and open to the public.

Chase has taught at Washington University since 2002, and took over the directorship of Tyson in 2007. His research covers broad areas in the study of species diversity in both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. A prolific author, his research has been published in a wide range of journals, especially in those devoted to ecology. His professional awards include the American Society of Naturalists Young Investigator Prize, the George Mercer Award from the Ecological Society of America, and the Innovator Award from the Saint Louis Academy of Sciences.

Chase received a bachelor’s degree from the School of Natural Resources at the University of Michigan, a master’s degree from Utah State University’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and a doctoral degree from the Department of Ecology and Evolution from the University of Chicago.

Hellmuth, AIA, has extensive experience in sustainable design and is a LEED accredited professional. For more than 25 years, he has worked on government, housing, educational, historic preservation, and transit design and planning projects. With more than 28 LEED projects to his firm’s credit, Hellmuth can now add the Living Building Challenge Project, a feat that creates a net zero energy, water and construction carbon footprint building.

Hellmuth is devoted to bringing sustainable development to St. Louis. He helped establish the St. Louis chapter of the US Green Building Council and served as its first chair. Currently he is involved with creating a sustainable community development code and a “green streetscape” plan for Euclid Avenue in the Central West End.

Tyson, located 20 miles southwest of the Danforth Campus, contains 2,000 acres of woods, prairie, ponds and savannas for faculty and students to conduct environmental research.

The Living Learning Center is a 2,900-square-foot facility built to meet the Living Building Challenge, currently the most stringent green building rating system in the world. More than 60 design projects are pursuing certification, but the Living Learning Center is one of the first two to meet its rigorous guidelines.

For more information on this program or future Assembly Series programs, visit the Web site at, or call 314-935-4620.