The City of Santa Monica will soon welcome a new civic building that will not only bring the various municipal departments scattered throughout the city under one roof but will also fulfill the Living Building Challenge — making it the largest civic building of its kind to meet the world’s most rigorous and comprehensive green building standards. Designed by Frederick Fisher and Partners, the building will be a model for self-sufficiency and ecological resilience by producing more energy than it uses.
Scheduled to open to the public in April 2020, the 50,200-square-foot Santa Monica Services Building was designed to surpass “even the highest LEED certification requirements,” according to its press release. To meet those ambitious standards, the civic building follows passive solar principles and is equipped with numerous energy-saving and -producing systems, such as a series of photovoltaic arrays throughout the structure that total nearly 15,000 square feet, composting facilities and a rainwater recycling system. The building is the first structure in California to be granted the rights to convert rain to potable water onsite.
The glass that surrounds the building aids in natural daylighting while also symbolizing its civic commitment toward government transparency. Its simple, rectilinear form also complements the original Art Deco design of the historic Santa Monica City Hall, which is connected to the new building via a courtyard.
In addition to serving as a landmark structure for environmental sustainability, the Santa Monica City Services Building also champions financial sustainability. The building, which is planned to have a 100-year lifespan, is expected to cost less than the projected cost of the private commercial lease agreements that had previously housed the disjointed city agencies around Santa Monica within 30 years. The building was created in collaboration with BuroHappold Engineering and general contractor Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company.
Photography by Takashige Ikawa, renderings by Frederick Fisher and Partners