New Construction v2.1
Betty Irene Moore Natural Sciences Building
LEED Platinum 2007
The major goal for this project was to work closely with the campus to showcase its commitment to sustainability, using the building as a demonstration and teaching tool. An integrated signage and building education program further promotes the relevance of science education, the history of women in science, and the sustainable design strategies employed throughout the building.
The design team of EHDD and Karen Fiene Architects designed this 26,000-square-foot educational building on the Mills College campus, located in the San Francisco Bay area. The building expresses the changing, interdisciplinary nature of modern science for the next generation of women in the natural sciences field. Multiple disciplines formerly separated on the campus were brought together in this new addition. The project fit seamlessly into the campus and existing building, and created a new heart for the academic core. In addition, the College wished to use this new construction opportunity to showcase its commitment to sustainability, using the building as a demonstration and teaching tool.
The prominent location of the building on the edge of the campus center created a space that is inviting to all students and fosters impromptu interactions among faculty and students alike. Its function is to inspire and facilitate learning about science, women in science, sustainability, and how the built environment impacts culture, learning, and the natural world.
Unique to this project is the use of art and technology to deliver the mission of the building, including a rainwater recycling sculpture and cistern, “Women in Science” exhibit, energy resource monitor, computer lounge, dichroic glass installation in a skylight well, supersized periodic table of elements, and photovoltaic panels. These more unusual components thematically underscore the focus of study and provide focal points for public spaces.
A clear validation of the College’s intent to demonstrate its commitment to a sustainable future is achievement of LEED Platinum. Building energy use surpasses Title 24 requirements by 43.3%. The building performs 89% better than a typical Bay Area lab in terms of energy use. Overall water savings for the building are 61%, totaling 338,400 gallons per year.
Supplying comfortable daylit classrooms and labs was key to serving the academic program. Inside the building, direct light from windows and skylights, and borrowed light from adjacent daylit circulation spaces through sidelights and transoms, provides high-quality, balanced, saturated light with low glare. All interior spaces including circulation have views to the outside and natural light, bringing the beautiful campus green into the building. The lobby was designed to draw the public meadow into and through the building to the courtyard behind, creating connection and an inviting open area for lingering and interacting.
Both students and faculty report that the facility is working beautifully in the classrooms, labs, and informal gathering spaces. Students love the computer classroom/lounge that allows for quiet study and conversation, and the courtyard with its sculpture and collection of native plants is a favorite lunchtime meeting place.