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UNLV Libraries -> Architecture Studies Library -> Las Vegas Guides and Collections ->
   AIA Nevada Design & Service Awards Archive -> 2007 awards -> Desert Research Institute C.A.V.E Facility

       NEVADA AIA DESIGN AWARDS 2007        


Entry number: UB07058
Project Name: Desert Research Institute C.A.V.E Facility
Location: 6215 Raggio Pkwy  Reno NV
Building Type: Offices
Completion Date: August 2008
Architect:  Sheehan Van Woert Bigotti Architecture

Sustainability Description

Design Team:
Architect / Interior Designer: Sheehan Van Woert Bigotti Architecture
Consulting: Weidt Group
Electrical Engineer: PK Electric
Civil Engineer: Odyssey Engineering
Landscape Architect: Lumos Engineering
Structural Engineer: Ferrari Shields


Narrative/Project Description:
The design responds to the restrictive budget and need for repetitive research spaces with shared collaborative spaces between.

Owner's Brief. Provide a simple straightforward architecture that maximizes the views from the individual executive offices and incorporates exposed concrete as a continued theme with existing buildings. This facility must provide a place for the 6D computer actuated virtual environment (CAVE) computer equipment for the research teams as a visualization laboratory.

Site Description. The Desert Research Institute (DRI) is located in the hills approximately four miles north of the Reno city center. It is surrounded by undeveloped land to the north, west and south. Commanding views to the south include the city of Reno and the Sierra Mountain range. Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) campus is located immediately to the east. The DRI campus and TMCC campus are expected to merge as each one experiences growth. The site of the new CAVE facility rests on the hillside sloping down to the south. The slope of the site allows views of upper buildings to be minimally affected. The hillside site includes natural rock outcroppings bridging between the current CAVE facility phase of construction and the future Phase design concept of this project.

Building Design. The "kit of parts" concept is utilized to allow for flexibility, cost consciousness, and also provide the Owner with the opportunity to easily expand upon additional funding. The "kit of parts" includes four (4) research pods of 7200 square feet with required collaboration space. The research pods are deemed "primary" space and
the collaboration areas as "secondary" space between the pods. An alternating staggered rhythm was utilized to generate the architecture along the topography of the site and addresses the need to connect the campus to TMCC while minimizing the effect on the natural terrain. The initial budget allowed for only three pods and therefore, the repetitive concept fit well for planning the fourth pod addition, for which DRI recently received additional funding. The CAVE, which occupies the renowned 6D research computer equipment, acts as a counterpoint along the rhythm of research pods. This specialized equipment requires a black box treatment and is articulated with colored metal panels. These primary research pods are delineated as ground to roof curtain wall glass to maximize the stunning valley and mountain views. The secondary collaboration spaces are articulated as concrete cores that satisfy the structural requirements needed to offset the large spans of glass curtain wall. As well, these secondary cores are organized to encompass the restrooms, equipment rooms, and rooftop mechanical equipment. The research pods include individual offices at the south wall facing views with the open offices adjacent and the work area to the back or North wall where less natural daylight responds to the Owner's request. The natural daylight is designed to travel over and through the individual offices to assist the skylights in providing natural light deeper into the open office areas.

The interior design approach is honest and utilizes a "structure as architecture" approach. Steel and concrete are exposed in most areas. Suspended gypsum board ceilings are incorporated in the concrete cores to address plenum requirements.

Master plan Site Design.
The site design is provided to unify the existing buildings with this new facility. It provides a main gathering quad with connecting pathways to buildings and the TMCC Campus. The design also establishes a new gateway campus entrance from the southern roadway, Raggio Parkway, and is located between the existing building and the new CAVE Facility. The site design utilizes a blend of geometric patterns to resolve building relationships, provide pedestrian scale and visual interest. The intent is to activate the space between and offer the research teams with formal outdoor place making.


Sustainability Description:
The project is designed for LEED gold certification. Among the required credits necessary to achieve a LEED certified building we have included many aspects from sustainable site to innovation credits.

Nearly the entire south facing wall is glass curtain wall to maximize day lighting and reduce electrical demand. This window wall is detailed with horizontal trellis' for sun control. Solar panels will be provided on the roof as a flat surface attached to the single ply membrane as well as an array on the south side of the building. We have provided alternative transportation methods such as bicycle storage and designated parking for alternative fuel vehicles. The water use for the entire building will be reduced by 20% while using innovative wastewater technology. Throughout construction the contractor is responsible for waste management and recycling of appropriate materials. The indoor environmental quality will benefit from C02 monitoring, low-emitting materials, thermal comfort and day lighting which is provided not only from the south facing glass, but also from the numerous skylights provided on the north side of the facility. Innovation in design will also be accomplished with such items as low flow urinals and utilizing the building as a display.


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Material in ASL Library: Form Core Boards, Project Description Form, Exteriors Photos, Location Map, Site Plan, Floor Plan, and Interior Photos

These images are low-resolution reproductions of the images provided for the AIA Nevada Design Awards. All materials should be considered copyrighted and may not be reproduced or used without permission.

Monday, 17-Dec-2012 10:50:03 PST