University of San Francisco: Building Green Buildings

November 4, 2009 at 1:24 PM Leave a comment

The University of San Francisco plans to build a 60,000-square-foot science center on its main campus, the latest upgrade of the school’s aging facilities.

The $60 million Center for Science and Innovation would be built at the south end of the 42-year-old Harney Science Building, near the school’s War Memorial Gymnasium off Golden Gate Avenue.

Construction of the building, designed by the architectural firm NBBJ, is slated to begin in May 2010.

The Center is designed to be USF’s first LEED certified building (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), targeting a Gold level rating for exemplary sustainable design. The new facility will:

  • Generate 40,000 kWh of energy per year with solar arrays
  • Use renewable and recycled building materials
  • Maximize use of natural air and light
  • Store rainwater for use in landscape irrigation
  • Feature a green roof, covering an advanced computational studio, to naturally cool the building while reducing run-off

The Center for Science and Innovation is the next step in USF’s ongoing march to sustainability. In the first months of 2009 alone, the USF campus has:

  • Increased solar power generation six-fold
  • Moved to capture 75% of recyclable material from campus waste
  • Placed 3rd in a national campus recycling contest sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency
  • Launched “trust the tap” to eliminate plastic water bottles from campus.

Specific challenges are:

* A lack of informal study space for students,

* A lack of appealing and usable outdoor gathering spaces. and

* Dated, aging architecture.

The Center for Science and Innovation will address these challenges directly. Far from “just another building,” the project will completely reimagine the current Harney Plaza, providing a two-tiered commons with an inviting atrium sunken into the renovated and “greened” upper plaza. While still accommodating a host of student events for the university, the new flexible design promises a “living room” for campus. Meanwhile, approximately 15,000 square feet will be created for informal student study and gathering spaces. These spaces will vary from contemplative hideaways for individual study, to high-traffic areas more suitable for group work and events. Most importantly, the Center will make a bold, future-focused architectural statement in the core of USF’s lower campus. This will elevate the university’s external reputation and make a more sophisticated impression on prospective students and other visitors.

Check out the CSI blog and website to stay up-to-date on their new endeavor.


Entry filed under: USF on Green. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

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