EAN Legacy

The academic building will be occupied by students studying Cradle to Cradle Circular Economy principles.

Universidad EAN,
Bogotá, Colombia

Aptly referred to as “Project Legacy,” the 20,000 square meter building for Universidad EAN (EAN) illustrates the possibilities of design for the circular economy, with a focus on the Latin American construction sector, and starting with Colombia. Instruction in the building will center on Cradle to Cradle Design™ principles, but Project Legacy has already become a “living lab” for sustainability and has proven, in conjunction with the University, the City of Bogotá, and local construction and building materials industries, that green building projects can support circular ecosystems.

“As an architect, I have often wondered how buildings can align with Arthur C. Clark’s statement: ‘any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.’ To me, the EAN building is magical,” said William McDonough. “We designed this school to be like a living, breathing organism, native to and a part of its environment. The design elements that make up the building mirror the ambitions of the small and medium-sized entrepreneurs learning how to design and execute business plans guided by Cradle to Cradle and the Circular Economy.”

The most prominent feature of the building is the McDonough-designed WonderFrame™ shade structure. Constructed by a local Hunter Douglas factory, the UEAN WonderFrame is a modular, multi-functional building system designed for quick assembly. The metal frame is clad with multi-colored perforated panels, metaphorically invoking tree leaves and providing shade while simultaneously admitting daylight, demonstrating material and energy efficiency.

Natural ventilation for the new building will be aided by the WonderFrame, which capitalizes on existing wind currents to direct filtered air into the building and out of its chimneys. The building will be one of the first to implement a new verification protocol for engineered natural ventilation systems in Equatorial Climates, developed by Bogotá-based environmental engineering consultants (and design team members) for the Colombia Green Building Council to standardize the use of natural ventilation as a LEED energy effectiveness strategy.


Universidad EAN


laboratories, classrooms, administrative offices, seminar rooms, a cafeteria, indoor basketball court, exercise gymnasium, and an auditorium seating 500 people


20,000 square meters


Completed 2021


William McDonough + Partners, Design Architect
AIA, Executive Architect
AEI, Interior Design
PAYC, Construction Manager
Acustec, Acoustic Design
ADRAR, Plumbing
AGR, Codes
Aqualab, Laboratory
Eco Intelligent Growth (EIG), C2C products
Gaia, Landscape
GBCG, HVAC/Electrical
MTS, Lighting
PyP Proyectos, Structural
SES, Energy Model
SETRI, LEED Consulting

Photos ©Jairo Llano – LlanoFotografia

Awards + Certifications

The Public Award for Sustainable Project Build, Consejo Colombiano de Construccion Sostenible and Construverde 2021

LEED Gold Certified

AIA DC 2022