Valparaiso University’s Harre Union has been awarded a 2011 Honorable Mention for Outstanding Design and Architecture in Education. The award, issued by Education Design Showcase, was featured in the June 2011 issue of College Planning and Management.

The award was given for the Union’s construction and design, inspired by a desire to create the new building as a foundation for social and community interaction.

Design Organization of Valparaiso and Chicago collaborated with Sasaki Associates of Watertown, Massachusetts, on the building design. Design Organization was responsible for the programming, construction documents, construction, furniture installation and closeout of the Union.

Harre Union was built in an effort to follow LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) principles for construction and design sustainability. Multiple innovative “green” elements were incorporated into the Union, including modified processes for dining services to greatly reduce the volume of food service waste the University produces.

Other important components of the Union’s award-winning design are energy efficient systems, which include a highly insulated building envelope, high efficiency boilers, high efficiency lighting with low heat output bulbs, mechanical system energy management, and high efficiency refrigeration equipment and cooling systems.

Use of natural materials in the Union, such as limestone and wood from certified forests, create a distinctive community environment for students, staff, faculty, alumni and friends of Valparaiso University.

In 2009, Harre Union was also awarded a Collegiate Citation for Interior Design Excellence and featured in the American Schools and Universities Magazine’s Educational Interiors Showcase.