The National Guard Readiness Center and Army Aviation Support Facility (AASF) in Kankakee, Illinois is a center of civic heritage designed to celebrate those who use it: the soldier. The facility is designed to attract, retain, and care for over 200 service people, providing a fresh face for the National Guard, and breathing new life into the recruitment process.
The building’s footprint emulates the rotor of the 12 Blackhawk helicopters housed there. A rotor expresses motion, movement and the building’s inherent military identity. The rotating wing concept establishes the three battalions’ areas with a central communal gathering space as an anchor, symbolizing the core coming together as one. The central staircase’s techno-detailing recalls the helicopter as machine. The gathering spaces build camaraderie among the various troops. Flexible classrooms and conference rooms are used by all units, and with foldable partitions, can accommodate five or 100.
Mirroring a soldier’s camouflage, the main facade blends art and science, reflecting the modern high-tech armed forces. The wall’s digital pattern brings daylight into interior spaces while maximizing winter solar heat gain through carefully placed colored poly-carbonate panels and insulated metal panels. The natural light reduces energy consumption, and windows provide an opportunity to connect users with nature. Offices and open-spaces receive outdoor views, and non-office areas have skylights and windows, improving quality of life, productivity, and health.
The facility provides versatility for the various needs of those it houses, while bringing the troops together and serving as an inspirational tool for the National Guard.
A programming goal from day one was the pursuit of LEED Silver certification. The facility was certified for 54 points, a step above the State of Illinois requirement of LEED Silver with an accumulated 50 points. The facility was designed to show that the Illinois National Guard is cutting-edge, advanced and forward-thinking, therefore, sustainability was placed at the forefront. Furthermore, the sustainable design reduced energy costs for the National Guard by 32.2 percent.
Building comfort is provided by a variable refrigerant flow (VRF) heat recovery system that allows simultaneous heating and cooling of spaces within the building. The heat extracted from spaces requiring cooling is put to use in spaces requiring heating, reducing the mechanical cooling needed and saving energy. To enhance the VRF system performance, the VRF condensing units are located within a fully enclosed penthouse to provide them with greater protection from thermal extremes, and to ensure full heating capacity in the winter. Louvers in the penthouse open in the summer to allow heat rejection for cooling. A radiant heating floor system is installed throughout the hangars, heated by three high-efficiency condensing boilers
Despite the difficulty of creating an air-tight facility that is as large and multipurpose as the Kankakee Readiness Center and AASF, it passed the airtightness standard on the first attempt. Airflow per square foot of building envelope was recorded at less than 0.25CFM/SF at a pressurization of 75 Pa (Pascals). That is equivalent to 4,200 square inches of leakage area in 224,900 square feet of building envelope surface area.
Preferred parking spaces are allotted for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles as well as carpool vehicles. Bike storage facilities are provided.
Landscaping was designed to increase water efficiency by avoiding permanent irrigation systems.
Potable water usage in the facility was reduced by 40.18%.
The entire south façade is glass and colored poly-carbonate (PC) panels, creating a pattern that mirrors a soldier’s digital camouflage and allows the optimum amount of light infiltration while minimizing conditioning energy use, and increasing thermal performance. Each 3’-0” by 8’-0” PC panel has multiple cells, or ribs, measuring approximately 1.75” in depth. The cell depth is what helps the PC panel provide more insulative property than a glass curtain-wall system. Those window materials were chosen carefully, balancing budget and performance with the appropriate amount of diffuse light and heat sustained in the building.
In coordination with the LEED building and system design, the general contractor was able to divert 80.07 percent of the on-site construction waste from the landfill.