UC Irvine asked Fentress Architects “for a building that captured the complex, multi-disciplinary character of a humanities education — a place to create a sense of unforeseen possibilities.” The firm took inspiration from Janus, the two-faced god of mythological literature with the gift of vision into both past and future, and gave the building a split persona.On one side, the building is completely traditional to match the existing architecture of the campus, while the other side is organic and evokes a sense of delight with its curvy, glass facade.
The modern ribbons of glass panels rise four stories tall and floods the interior with daylight and helps to minimize energy consumption. Taking advantage of the southern California climate, a number of outdoor areas provide space to study or meet.
Fentress Architect, builder Hensel Phelps Construction Company, and UC Irvine were recently awarded with a LEED Platinum certification earning 57 points as a result of their sustainable strategies. Three story light wells penetrate the building pulling daylight into the inner recesses of the building and high performing mechanical systems ensure a comfortable climate while minimizing energy use. Additionally, the Humanities Gateway makes use of the campus-wide chilled water plant for cooling along with efficient steam turbines. Regional materials were sourced for 40% of the building and occupancy and lighting sensors control the HVAC and lighting systems depending on if people are in the room.
The 76,000 sq ft facility was completed in 2009 and underwent a full commissioning service to ensure the building runs optimally.
Images ©Heliphoto, Nick Merrick © Hedrich Blessing and Fentress Architects