The research facility, which is expected to earn LEED Silver certification, provides UCSD with a space and capacity to research nano-tube technologies and new structural aerospace materials. The design of the facility includes offices, wonderful high-bay testing areas, digital imaging computer labs, long term testing spaces, and large workshops. Miller Hull and Safdie Rabines Architects provided an in-depth daylighting analysis of the building in order to ensure that the laboratory spaces receive as much natural light as possible. Their analysis also took into account the placement of sun shading in order to minimize the use of air conditioning. The exterior blind system also helps with this task through the use of a solar clock, which automatically protects the interior from intense, direct sunlight and direct heat gain.
Other sustainable features include a large photovoltaic array on the roof of the building, which covers almost 50% of the roof area. The large cooling units, also located on the roof, provide the building with water for irrigation. The building’s immense use of concrete in its structure and in-slab radiant cooling throughout the building helps to keep the building cool during the day. The design team looked at the regional use of concrete in building such famed facilities, such as the Salk Institute, and saw the concrete as a sustainable, local material that could help reduce the life-cycle cost of the building.