Excellence in Architecture for Education

The AIA/CAE Design Awards honors LPA Inc. for Cal State Northridge Student Recreation Center’s sustainable design.

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AIA/CAE award winning California State University Northridge Student Recreation Center, rock climbing wall.

You touch the lives of young people. What a responsibility, but what a privilege and honor.

Irvine, CA (PRWEB) April 25, 2013

California-based sustainable design firm LPA Inc. has been selected as a recipient of the 2013 American Institute of Architecture (AIA)/Committee of Architecture for Education (CAE) Educational Facility Design Awards for its design of the California State University (CSU) Northridge Student Recreation Center.

At 138,000-square-feet, the recreation center, which opened its doors last February, houses two outdoor pools, basketball, volleyball and badminton courts, a comprehensive weight-training and fitness zone, jogging track, and a 40-foot rock climbing wall—the tallest offered by any school in the CSU system.

Its highly intentional design makes the building a model in sustainability, receiving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold-level certification from the U.S Green Building Council (USGBC), and making it a social hub on the Cal State campus.

“This is an amazing variety of types of spaces, but I would say probably the most important role that the rec. center plays on campus is the main social space that really supports an active student life,” related LPA Design Principal Glenn Carels, FAIA, in a mini-documentary on the project (see video at right).

In fact, CSU Northridge, primarily a commuter campus, has reported a significant increase in students opting to stay on campus after hours and return on the weekends to take advantage of the Center’s amenities.

“The Student Recreation Center strategically creates a strong bookend to the east end of the campus, providing a dynamic, energetic approach to recreation,” stated the CAE awards jury. “Strong transparency and interconnections between spaces inside the building are appealing, inviting and conducive to exercising.”

The folding profile of the building, which helps the structure serve as a transition from the surrounding residential area to the campus, also supports numerous sustainable design features. These include displacement ventilation, solar control fins and screens, the use of recycled and low-emitting materials, rooftop photovoltaic array, water-efficient California native landscaping, low-flow plumbing fixtures, rainwater harvesting, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood products, and natural daylight for 90 percent of the usable spaces.

In addition, a highly integrated and coordinated architectural, mechanical, electrical and structural design, enabled the large building—and all of the programming it supports—to blend into the surrounding environs.

“Making that program fit on that site was one of the key design challenges for LPA,” acknowledged Erik Ring, P.E., LPA mechanical engineer, “and the solution that we ultimately built—with the gymnasiums, the tall volume spaces, elevated on the second floor—was really an effort to address the issue of fitting that much program into that site and staying within the context of the scale of the campus.”

Consequently, it was the integrated design approach itself that actually gave form to the building by efficiently stacking the space and tucking the HVAC ductwork in between the two floors and above the finished gymnasium floor, thereby creating a modern, clean look.

In addition to the AIA/CAE award, the innovative recreational center has also been recognized with AIA San Diego Citation and COTE awards, a Facility of Merit award from the Athletic Business Journal, a Pacific Coast Builders Conference Gold Nugget Grand Award for Greenest Sustainable Commercial Project and AIA Orange County and San Fernando Valley Award of Merit awards.

Nodding his cap to this year’s award recipients, 2013 CAE President Mickey Jacob, FAIA, said, “If you believe as I do that how we build reflects our deepest values and in turn shapes those who engage with our work, I cannot think of a more important project type. You touch the lives of young people. What a responsibility, but what a privilege and honor.”

For more information, or to sign up to take a tour of the Student Recreation Center at California State University Northridge, visit src.csun.edu.

California State University Northridge
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91330
(818) 677-2491
src(at)csun(dot)edu

About the AIA Committee on Architecture for Education
The American Institute of Architects Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) is the largest single organization in North America that is the authoritative voice on the planning and design of learning environments for all age groups. Connecting more than 7,500 architects and allied professionals interested in designing, building and using superior educational, cultural, and recreational facilities, CAE members educate the public about the value of quality educational facility design. For more information about the CAE, please visit aia.org/cae.

About LPA Inc.
Founded in 1965, LPA has nearly 200 employees with offices in Irvine, Roseville, and San Diego, Calif. The firm provides services in architecture, sustainability, planning, interior design, landscape architecture, engineering, and graphics. There is no “Sustainability Director,” at LPA. Instead, more than 80% of the professionals are LEED accredited, including the Human Resources Director, CFO, and several other support staff. With extensive experience in public and private architecture, LPA designs a diversity of facilities that span from K-12 schools, colleges and universities, to corporate and civic establishments. More than 500 major design awards attest to LPA's commitment to design excellence. For more information, visit LPAinc.com