Nichiha USA, a premier provider of innovative building material solutions, has donated more than 2,500 square feet of its elegant Miraia architectural wall panels to students taking part in a special project at the University of Kansas. Known as Studio 804, the effort is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 operation that builds sustainable and inventive building solutions.

Studio 804 is a student-run capstone option for graduate architecture students at the University of Kansas School of Architecture & Design. Each year, participants undertake a housing project from concept to creation. The program affords aspiring architects an opportunity to not only design their vision, but to personally facilitate its build. In previous years, the program undertook the construction of homeless shelters and even projects for the university itself. Their 2023 focus is called “432 Indiana House,” a chic, local home that focuses on sustainable living.

To support the effort, Nichiha USA donated one of its most luxurious AWP products: the high-gloss Miraia specified in a resonant Onyx black color. The bold visual choice will make a standout addition to the home’s clean lines and minimal aesthetic. Not only is the design an exciting look, but it is also inspiring to the students constructing the home.

“I think Nichiha has raised the bar of quality, and we aim to meet that quality ourselves and the execution of it,” said Dan Rockhill, principal of the Architecture firm Rockhill and Associates and JL Constant Distinguished Professor of Architecture. “It’s a beautiful product that has been thought through to a great extent. They are able to anticipate all the conditions that we run into; how to deal with openings, doors, windows, how to turn corners, how to manage expansion and contraction. All of those have been thought about through their engineering.”

Like past Studio 804 projects, the home approaches sustainable living from all angles. Its location sits near ample green space, including the Kansas River. The vibrant culture of Lawrence, Kansas, is accessible by nearby bus routes and bike loops, lessening the need for a personal vehicle. All of this is in an effort for the project to become Studio 804’s 17th consecutive project to achieve LEED Platinum status.

“I contacted Nichiha last fall to ask if they’d be interested in partnering with us, and they were very excited and really responsive,” said Lydia Juengling, a fifth-year architecture student at the University of Kansas. “I’m really excited about the aesthetic of the panel. The glossy black is incredibly sleek and modern. With our black standing seam roof, the house mimics the look of a polished gem. Miraia Onyx is perfect for that.”

“At Nichiha, we’re celebrating our 25th anniversary of being in business, and we like to say that architects often have that ‘a-ha’ moment when designing their project, when their vision is crystallized and they know what materials they need to realize it,” said Jason Monday, vice president of sales and marketing. “With its ability to mimic many coveted looks and its durability as a rainscreen system, Nichiha AWP is the optimal choice for cladding for this student project. We’re glad the product gave these aspiring architects their ‘a-ha’ moment.”

Now in the final stages of building, 432 Indiana House is poised to be completed in May 2023.