Living Building

Creating an environmental commons for everyone in the state to celebrate natural history, archeology, and sustainability by engaging with science, culture, landscapes, and change.

Join us on an exciting and innovative philanthropic opportunity as we raise funds to construct a distinctive “living building” to house the University of Connecticut’s Institute of the Environment, encompassing the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History, Center for Environmental Science and Engineering, and Office of Sustainability.

What Is a Living Building?

A living building is purposefully designed to blur the perceived separation between humans and nature and to enhance the sense that humans are part of the environment. Through creative architecture and design, living buildings enhance their surroundings with the aim of surpassing environmental mitigation, elevating building goals to environmental regeneration. Meeting a set of performance standards set forth by the International Living Future Institute, Living Building design, construction, and space-use “make the world a better place.”

Why Build One at UConn?

Our living building will be “from the people of Connecticut for the people of Connecticut,” reflecting our shared environmental and cultural heritage. The building will act as a highly visible gateway for environmental programming involving research, education, and outreach that reflects the University’s commitment to sustainability and the environment.

The elements that characterize living buildings are fully aligned with UConn’s core values of innovation, global engagement, diversity, and leadership. Indeed, the IoE Living Building is the perfect venue to showcase UConn’s status as a leading University: it will engage diverse communities across the state, create transformative experiences for students and lifelong learners, and generate new resources and knowledge through discovery. The first of its kind in the State of Connecticut, the building is tangible evidence of the University’s commitment to advancing innovation and design.

This unique building and its associated programming will advance the mission of the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History (CSMNH) and its associated Office of State Archaeology, by highlighting Connecticut’s rich natural and cultural heritage. It will be a destination for individuals of all ages from across the state and region, inspiring wonder and expanding appreciation of the natural world by providing visitors with truly life-changing opportunities to use our public spaces and intimately explore specimens and exhibits.

By creatively combining state-of-the art exhibit and education space with the sustainable characteristics that are inherent to living buildings, we have an amazing opportunity to develop an inspiring educational space for all that will help advance the missions of the Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering, the Office of Sustainability, and the Natural Resources Conservation Academy as well as to promote environmental sustainability and responsible stewardship of the natural world.

Why Is This Great for Connecticut?

The living building will synergize interactions among IoE units and enhance collaborations among diverse faculty members, students, and environmental professionals in diverse scholarship and educational pursuits.

The positive environmental impacts of a living building will provide an effective platform for reaching Connecticut communities by telling meaningful stories that resonate with our visitors. Indeed, the living building will act as an exhibit to highlight sustainable practices (energy conservation, water recycling). We will use our collections and programming to inspire the public by creating opportunities for compelling community engagement. By embedding exhibit and educational space within a beautiful, functional living building, we will enrich the experiences of visitors by engaging and inspiring them to think deeply about and care for the natural world.

By creating a living building, the people of Connecticut will gain a special landmark that will function as a transformative space to experience, discover, and support the natural world.