The Nonprofits Insurance Alliance of California serves nonprofit organizations throughout the state as well as affiliates nationally. The NIAC office building is a 26,000 sf, three-story high commercial office building located half a mile from the Santa Cruz coast. In addition to office space, the program includes a multi-purpose room to support local community functions, and three apartments for short-term stays by remote staff. The project is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2019.
The NIAC building is inspired by the local Santa Cruz coastline and the client’s goal of creating a safe haven, a place to recharge and renew. As a nonprofit insurance company, NIAC takes pride in providing safety and resiliency for both their members as well as the local community. This concept is translated into a building form that suggests a terraced outcrop with an internal courtyard. Less visibly, this philosophy is built into the infrastructure of the project through the installation of both PV’s and battery storage which allows the company and local community to use building to shelter in place for up to one week.
Layered into the building concept is the client’s commitment to the principles of Feng Shui. Throughout the design process, the tenets of Feng Shui were analyzed and thoughtfully incorporated, from the configuration of the building in the larger site context, to the placement of the main entrances and the adjacencies of various program elements. Careful attention was placed on the need for direct or indirect views, the choreography of circulation, and the unfolding sequence of experiences in a space.
The project aims to achieve net-zero energy use through both generative and conservation strategies. Conservation strategies involved designing a passive building that takes advantage of the strong natural breezes to cross-ventilate during the day, and provide night-flush at night. Overhead fans in conjunction with radiant flooring provide efficient thermal comfort for the majority of the year and are supplemented by an ERV system. All spaces have ample access to natural daylight, and occupancy sensors provide power monitoring scaled down for each workstation. Generative strategies include the installation of solar panels to provide more energy than is required to meet the building’s target EUI of 23.9.