One of These Things is Not Like the Others

May 1, 2008
PASADENA, CA - GonzalezGoodale Architects has announced that construction has begun on the new 31,400-square-foot Department of Water and Power building in Pasadena, CA. The Pasadena and Foothills chapter of the AIA awarded the firm a Merit Award for its design of the new $10 million civic project which will house maintenance crews and supervisors.

The new building is situated directly opposite an existing 1930's warehouse, which was completely renovated in the first phase of the project to bring the building to current code standards. The plan also calls for an urban, pedestrian-friendly space between the two structures that provide convenient access between departments. The tree-shaded, native landscaped space will include seating areas and an evaporative cooling water feature that will rain from the façade of the new building.

"Our design objectives for this project were twofold," says David Goodale, design principal at GonzalezGoodale. "We wanted to employ sustainability strategies that would meet Gold LEED standards and as such, serve as a learning example for Pasadena's emerging sustainable design program. Secondly, we wanted to design a building that added visually interesting architecture to a utilitarian, industrial area. Though the building's exterior design is contemporary, it echoes the existing 1930's building to create a sense of balance on the campus."

The Department of Water and Power building, when complete, will include an expanded emergency operations center designed to employ the most advanced communication technology. Community leaders, including police and fire department officials, will meet here in the event of a disaster. The city's relocated water quality lab and utility network will also be housed within the building.

Known for designing building with energy-efficient features and highly renewable materials, the team of architects at Gonzalez Goodale collaborated with both its in-house sustainability team and consultants to design a building that would meet the Gold LEED benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of a high performance green building. Environmentally conscious features of the building include extensive daylighting of interior footprints, native landscaping that does not require irrigation systems, exterior screening systems that capture and dissipate heat into the atmosphere prior to entering the building, pervious paving to capture rainwater, a roofing system which reflects the visible light spectrum thus reducing the heat load within the building, and a walk-off main entry to minimize and control cross-contamination of indoor air with pollutants. Ventilation will also be increased and the system monitored for proper air quality.

According to Armando Gonzalez, principal in charge of the project, transportation was a key consideration in offsetting energy consumption. "To promote sustainable means of transportation, bicycle racks will be installed and parking preference will be provided for vanpools, carpools, and hybrid alternative fuel vehicles." Staff parking will be located to the north of the building while city vehicles will park on the western side. Larger rigs will be sheltered from the elements by a photovoltaic array of approximately 7,000 square feet, reducing energy use by over 12 percent.

Of all the materials used in the project, 30 percent will be of recycled content, 10 percent will be mined, extracted and manufactured within 500 miles of the project, at least 50 percent of all wood will come from sustainable harvested trees and 75 percent of construction waste will be recycled and diverted.

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