Sustainable Design Elevates UC Irvine Humanities Gateway to LEED Platinum

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Designed by Fentress Architects, Humanities Gateway is one of only 40 LEED Platinum Buildings in California

UC-Irvine Humanities Gateway

Nick Merrick © Hedrich Blessing

The designers masterfully integrated the Gateway Humanities Building into the heart of our campus.

The design-build team of Fentress Architects and Hensel Phelps Construction Company are excited to announce that the UC Irvine Humanities Gateway building has been awarded LEED Platinum certification, scoring well above the minimum requirement for that status. A signature gateway to the School of Humanities, Fentress Architects’ design honors the master plan created by architect William Pereira while incorporating highly innovative and effective sustainable features.

“The designers masterfully integrated the Gateway Humanities Building into the heart of our campus. We gave them a challenging vision to create ‘a sense of unforeseen possibilities.’ What they achieved surpassed our expectations. This innovative and sustainable building will be appreciated for years to come,” said Rebekah Gladson, FAIA, Associate Vice Chancellor and Campus Architect.

Design Vision | The University of California, Irvine asked the architects for a design that captured the complex, multi-disciplinary character of a humanities education -- a place to create a “sense of unforeseen possibilities.” The building’s split persona was inspired by Janus, the two-faced god of mythological literature with the gift of vision into both past and future. On one side of the building, a thoughtful, formal façade reflects the school’s context with a design in harmony with the campus’ existing architecture. On the opposing courtyard side, the building expresses a more organic, free-flowing design intended to evoke a sense of delight. The curvy, crystalline wall rises four stories, presenting a modern ribbon of glass panels in four different widths installed in a random manner.

Sustainability | The Gateway achieved 57 of the 52 minimum benchmark points to ensure U.S.G.B.C. LEED Platinum certification. The glass and metal wall system spans the building façade from floor to ceiling on all four levels, invigorating the interior with daylight and minimizing the need for energy consumption. In addition, three-story light wells penetrate the building upward to the sky, infusing the heart of the building with natural light. Taking advantage of the temperate Southern California climate, outdoor areas on the second floor invite students for relaxation and study.

The mechanical system incorporates 100% outside air economizers and variable flow fans to maximize energy efficiency. The design team created mechanical spaces for custom-built air handlers to maximize serviceability for all primary components. Supporting the School’s endeavor to encourage global citizenship in its students, the building provides an inspiring example for students, architects and the public for promoting sustainability in design.

Specific sustainable strategies include:

  •     Integration with UCI's efficient central plant to produce chilled water and heated

                water, while chilling and storing for use during the day

  •     Efficient steam turbines
  •     Mechanical and plumbing systems that exceed Title 24 requirements
  •     Occupancy sensors that control HVAC and lighting
  •     Use of 40% regional materials to save on fuel included in shipping costs
  •     Low E glass
  •     Full commissioning service to ensure the building runs on optimal settings
  •     Efficient use of machine room-less elevators in lieu of hydraulic elevators
  •     Removal of hot water requirements in the lavatories to save on water heating costs

FACTS | Humanities Gateway
Client:                    University of California, Irvine
Design-builder:    Hensel Phelps Construction Company
Architect:                    Fentress Architects
Completion:    August 2009
Cost:         $29 million
Size:        76,000 sq. ft.

Fentress Architects is a global design firm that passionately pursues the creation of sustainable and iconic architecture. Together with their clients, Fentress creates inspired design to improve the human environment. Founded by Curtis Fentress in 1980, the firm has designed US$26 billion of architectural projects worldwide, visited by over 300 million people each year. Fentress is a dynamic learning organization, driven to grow its ability to design, innovate and exceed client expectations. The firm has been honored with more than 360 distinctions for design excellence and innovation, and in 2010, Curtis Fentress was recognized by the American Institute of Architects with the most prestigious award for public architecture, the Thomas Jefferson Award. Fentress has studios in Denver, Colorado; Los Angeles, California; San Jose, California; Washington, D.C.; and London, U.K.
Please contact Angela Potrykus at 303.282.6192 or Potrykus for more information or images.


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Fentress Architects
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