LocationCalifornia Institute of Technology, 1200 East California Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
Interior & Environmental ConceptsLehrer Architects
Structural EngineersJohn Labib and Associates
Civil EngineerBarbara L. Hall, PE, Inc.
Landscape ArchitectMia Lehrer + Associates
Geotechnical EngineerGeocon West, Inc.
MEP EngineersWestlake Reed Leskowsky
Audio Visual ConsultantMedia Systems Design Group
Text description provided by the architects. Design Challenge:
Design and create an environment to facilitate a culture of creativity where scientists and academics from disparate disciplines from around the world meet periodically to contribute to a common cause. Design a hyper-flexible think tank environment that might morph several times a day in the same place
What kind of a designed environment will increase the participants’ comfort level, enabling them to drop inhibitions and collaborate?
Address the adaptation of the existing Tolman-Bacher House, a Mission-style structure or the addition of a new structure on a seemingly inadequate site area Respond to dramatic differences in scale and style between Mission-style bungalow on one side, and modernist, multistory academic building on the other. Location of site in the heart of the campus mandates a significant contribution to improve the campus’ urbanism
The relationship of old and new creates a unique opportunity for a courtyard that takes advantage of the Southern California climate and extends the use of the buildings through a unique indoor-outdoor connection.
It was determined that the restored Tolman-Bacher House, the Mission-style structure, could not adequately meet the needs of the organization so the adjacent, undeveloped lot of land became the starting point for the design of a new Modernist structure.
Throwaway spaces that were not part of the original brief were leveraged to solve the problem, to create a sanctum in the heart of the campus and promote the significant urban agenda of the campus master plan Architecture and organizational mission conspire to create a place that is a catalyst to encourage affinity amongst individuals.
Affinity to the purpose is created by the affinity to the environment Architecturally, an association to the existing structure and the existing outdoor landscape is always present and experienced with the new structure.
Pending LEED Platinum certification Design Details:
Existing Mission style structure undergoes structural stabilization and is restored to period and readapted from faculty housing to offices and meeting rooms Scale and proportion of new Modernist structure honors the scale of the existing structure and other syntax of other adjacent structures.
_Robust natural light and the ability to control it/block it.
_Strong visual, spatial, physical connection to campus to sense of place, to being in the heart of a quintessential Southern California elite campus.
_Generous, strategic storage, and easy indoor/outdoor workability, the place can changeover with ease and speed.
_Loggia of the new structure becomes a transitional element uniting the existing structure and outdoor landscape to the new indoor facility with similar paving stones and appropriate scale.
_Garden wall (north side) becomes an additional transitional and compositional element with functional purpose as built-in bench seating.
_Floor to ceiling sliding glass doors expand the lobby and work space into the loggia Angled white boards are bathed in natural light.