Science and sustainability are in focus at one of three new green buildings on the campus of California Institute of Technology (CalTech). Designed by Los Angeles-based architectural firm Frederick Fisher and Partners, the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Center for Information Science unites physicists, biologists, engineers, and computer scientists from five of Caltech’s academic divisions to foster interdisciplinary research and teaching.
The 60,000-square-foot building is seeking LEED Gold certification and features a 30 percent reduction in water use and a 28 percent reduction in energy use. A minimum of 75 percent of interior spaces have daylight access and offices are designed with floor-to-ceiling windows to reduce the need for electrical lighting. The use of chilled beams instead of a forced air HVAC system further reduces energy use. Water use throughout the building is reduced through water-efficient fixtures including waterless urinals and low-flow faucets and toilets, while landscaping around the building features drought-tolerant species and decomposed granite to reduce irrigation water use. Another sustainable site development is the installation of a vegetates swale on the east side and southwest corner of the building that retains stormwater surface runoff.
The Annenberg Center includes 16 faculty offices, 16 student studios, 14 postdoctoral offices, 33 graduate student offices, 14 administrative offices, five classrooms, three kitchens, two lounge areas, an auditorium, a computer lab, and a conference room. To encourage cross-collaboration, public areas feature multiple white boards and dry erase markets, while conference rooms are glass enclosed to encourage interaction with passersby.