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Tim Gray: Of Hay Bales and Hotels

Appropriate to a professor of architecture, Tim Gray is a man of many dimensions. He's also one of unusual substance, so to speak. Starting in 2006, Gray spearheaded successive teams of Ball State immersive learning students to construct the region's first full-scale, load bearing straw-bale buildings—and also one of the area's first carbon neutral structures. 

Referred to today simply as the Eco Center,GrayTimothy
 the modest-sized classroom/research building is the first constructed component of the Land Design Institute's LandLab demonstration site, located on the edge of a restored prairie about two miles from the university's main campus and intended to promote ecologically and culturally responsible land design through education, research, outreach, service and the integration of current and future ideas in land design. 

Initially funded by a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the innovative methods used to create the Eco Center have since been recognized by other national organizations. The project was named one of the most innovative sustainable commercial design projects at the 2007 National Sustainable Design Expo sponsored by the Green Building Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting credible and practical approaches to green building, and received the 2008 Merit Award for Excellence in Architectural Design from the Indiana chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). 

Along the way, it also earned an additional $25,000 grant from the U.S. Departments of Energy and Defense Alternative Energy Program. In 2009, the project received more national attention—and a $10,000 award—when it was chosen by the National Council of Architecture Registration Boards (NCARB) as one of five NCARB Prize winners.

Sustainable design and building concepts also guide Gray as he takes on a new and much larger project—overseeing the construction of a 22-room hotel in Broad Ripple, the trendy near northside suburb of Indianapolis. Expected to open before the city hosts the 2012 Super Bowl, it will be the community's first hotel facility. In addition to incorporating a two-story 1880s house already on the property as the hotel's reception area, Gray's design (characterized as "quirky" by the Indianapolis Star) calls for the new structure to achieve LEED certification through numerous conservation measures, including the use of salvaged materials. 

At the same time, Gray also is working on the design of a new custom home in Fort Wayne, Indiana, that aspires to be the first LEED platinum-rated residence in northern Indiana.

To contact Tim Gray, associate professor of architecture, call him at 317-610-1135.