Inspired by the topography of La Jolla Cove, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration‘s sustainable marine research facility appears to emerge from the contours of the coast, reshaping the relationship between marine scientists and their environment. An outgrowth of the effort to relocate an existing facility that was facing the uncertain effects of coastal erosion, the new building extends beyond supporting conservation efforts, to embodying them.
The LEED Gold certified project is a five-story building, broken down into smaller structures, which are clustered in “villages” no more than two stories in height. These smaller elements are organized around atrium courtyards, which prevent the overwhelming feeling common to many large buildings. The courts and patios take full advantage of the mild climate, promote natural ventilation and foster a sense of scientific community and connectedness to the environment. The building boasts photovoltaic cells, a water retention system, recycled materials, and several green roofs planted with native vegetation. The facility is home to 38 research laboratories, an aquarium, library, conference rooms, and office space, for its 275 scientists and support staff.
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