As part of a mixed-use masterplan with adjacent retail and residential components, the new Government Center was designed to become the downtown of this commuter community established in 1991. The center consists of a 56,000-sq.-ft. city hall, a 28,000-sq.-ft. library, a 30,000-sq.-ft. sheriff’s facility, and a 15,000-sq.-ft. fire department. All these elements are choreographed around a central plaza that is used for a variety of civic events.
In creating a 'civic heart' where none existed before the use of native plants and drought tolerance materials not only save water but begin the narrative on place. As a visitor arrives at the portal, a grove of oak trees and a welcoming wall of reclaimed water cools the entry and acts as an acoustical buffer from the street to the quiet of the interior spaces.
In collaborative design workshops with the community, a local history and environmental narrative was created to tie the Civic Center to its specific place and community: historical and environmental graphics are located throughout the complex. Artifacts found during grading are display under the City Hall feature stair complete with signage and interpretive artwork. The natural stone accents are profiled to announce the entries on the building and are an abstraction of the surrounding hills, which are visible from the site.
The design is completed with a comfortable palette of exterior and interior materials and accented with furnishings chosen to support the different uses: ergonomic efficiency in the offices and fun and creativity in the library.
While the client choose not to pursue a LEED rating, the design team focused on sustainable features that created a business case where less energy, less water and a healthy indoor environment was created using the following sustainability features:
• Building facades demonstrate solar shading strategies based on orientation and coupled with Low-E glass, R-30 roof insulation, efficient exterior skin and a cool roof created an envelope 15% better than T-24. The project received Savings by Design incentives further proving the business case to the client of sustainability.
• Water efficiently measures save 35% of portable water from baseline design.
• The native and drought tolerance planting material and drip irrigation reduces irrigation requirements by 60%.
• At the project’s front door a precast concrete cistern waters the plaza trees via captured City Hall roof rain water demonstrating the projects water conservation measures.
• Stormwater Management meets LEED 4.1 and 4.2 requirements.
• A healthy indoor environment promoted by the use of low VOC materials throughout and IAQ measures used during construction.
• Daylighting used extensively with lighting controls in all occupied spaces.
• All furnishings selected are Greenguard indoor air quality certified.