NZ Aerial
Building Type / Education
Location / Long Beach, California
Square Footage / 32,000 sq. ft.
Design Tools / Rhino / Vray / Adobe Photoshop / Adobe Illustrator /Adobe InDesign

Project Description

The Leading Edge Design Competition challenged designers to develop a net-zero energy center for the Long Beach, California, community. The residents of Long Beach are at the forefront of sustainable, energy efficient technologies and this facility aims to provide training and career placement opportunities for community members.

The program offered by the Design Competition focused on an array of building uses, most geared towards education, career development, and lifestyle. From this given program, three main program functions were then extrapolated and used to determine several design moves. The re-developed program of the facility focuses on LIVE[ing], LINK[ing], and LEARN[ing]. In terms of net-zero design, this green technology center focuses on the advantages the Long Beach climate can offer in terms of effective and efficient design. Building orientation was key in development of the two separate buildings on the site. This also allowed for optimal lighting and shading for all occupied spaces of the facility. One of the key features in reducing heat gain of the facility is the use of exterior circulation for the entire facility. Also, rather than creating one large building mass, thin floor plates and single-loaded “corridors” were chosen to further optimize daylighting and ventilation of both of the buildings.

The key feature for shading the north building is the punctuated steel screen that borders the exterior circulation on the upper floors of the building. The crossing metal bands that appear as a steel mesh prevent direct sunlight gain on the exterior glazing of the classrooms and offices of the building. However, light studies prove that daylighting of these spaces is still effective throughout the year. Operable windows allow users to control their internal environment and maintain green awareness within the facility. The south building offers up-close, hands-on experience with green technologies; in particular, users can interact with roof gardens and photovoltaic panels on the second-story roof-top of the south building.

All of these features combined allow this net-zero facility to operate as a true educational example of the success of green technologies and aid in developing a green environment in the city of Long Beach.

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