The fastest growing satellite campus of the college required a workhorse building; economical, durable, energy-efficient and functional. The new building, sited to shape a future campus green, fits in this understated and pragmatic context, but it also elevates the prospect of the campus.
The building is ecologically mature, reducing energy consumption through active and passive strategies. As external heat gains generally outweigh internal loads here, an umbrella shadows the building. Convection facilitates the movement of air up the southern, eastern and western facades, through the attic and out to the north. The heat given off through the first layer of construction never penetrates the thermal envelope of the building.
The primary active strategy reduces the electrical lighting load, the greatest consumer of energy in most buildings. The classrooms and laboratories line the north side of the building, which is enclosed with a high performance curtain wall. This wall is a natural light diffusing lens that refracts light deep into the room and onto all of its surfaces. The artificial lighting is an efficient light harvesting system which is controlled via motion and light level sensors.
A high performance, zoned HVAC system takes advantage of the reduced loads and provides thermal comfort with minimum energy. The planning of the building allows for simple trunk line runs, efficient HVAC zoning, and ease of maintenance.
The southern side of the building accommodates lounge, circulation and study spaces. Natural light enters the building through four penumbra instruments. Direct light is transformed into an ever-changing play of shadow and southern reflected light.