As one of the first academic buildings at the University of California Merced, the Science + Engineering Building needed to accommodate all of the University’s science facilities, including laboratory-based instructional and research activities. Twenty-three classroom labs, an open academic computing center, and a 60-person seminar room complete the primary student-related spaces.
EHDD’s design for this project addresses one of the university’s primary goals: to foster interdisciplinary collaboration between the science and engineering disciplines, as well as faculty and students. The design of laboratory space is modular and prototypical to easily accommodate shifts in types of activity and density of personnel while minimizing remodeling costs associated with these programmatic adjustments. Another challenge lay in finding a design solution to the hot climate and ambitious sustainability goals of the University. In response, EHDD looked at science building energy use across the UC system, developed target goals, and then designed to them in order to cut expenses and achieve a comfortable environment. Sun shading as a design element was part of this solution.