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De Anza College, Kirsch Center for Environmental Studies, in Cupertino, Calif. Courtesy VBN Architects

De Anza College, Kirsch Center for Environmental Studies

  • COMPLETION DATE
    2005

Overview

As the first LEED Platinum community college building in the United States, the Kirsch Center for Environmental Studies is a place for students to learn about environmental stewardship, sustainability, and energy and resource management. The two-story, 23,000-square-foot facility demonstrates the “climate responsive building concept” of integrating passive solar design, building-integrated photovoltaics, and other energy-efficient measures.

On the first floor there is a biodiversity lab, a biodiversity outdoor classroom, an energy exhibit hall, a small group learning space, a 90-seat lecture classroom and two 45-seat lecture classrooms. On the second floor there is an energy management lab, various study/tutorial areas, a second small group learning space, a resource center, an astronomy observation lab, the division and faculty offices and conference rooms. The building features a two-story atrium clad with photovoltaic glazing.

The building’s structural system is a structural steel frame, with floor construction consisting of concrete fill over composite steel deck, supported by a combination of steel wide flange beams and open web steel joists. The lateral force-resisting system features special concentric braced steel frames, exposed as an armature of the architecture.

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