Entry number: B09031
Project Name: DRI-CRVB
Building Type: Research Facility
Completion Date: November 2008
Building Location: Reno, NV
Type of Construction: Type II-B
Materials Used: Poured in place concrete/glass/cmu
Building Area: 41,000 sf
Architecture Firm: Sheehan Van Woert Bigotti
Architect of Record: Klai Juba Architects
Client/Owner/Developer: State Public Works Board
Interior Designer: Sheehan, Van Woert, Bigotti
Landscape Architect: Lumos Associates
Structural Engineer: Ferrari Shields Engineers
Electrical Engineer: OK Engineers
Mechanical Engineer: CR Engineers
Civil Engineer: Odyssey Engineers
General Contractor: West Coast Contracts
Photographer: ASA Gilmore
Statement of Design Approach:
The design provides a simple repetition of research modules staggered
along the southern slope of the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nevada.
A glass and concrete aesthetic was developed to offer a bold yet airy
response to the Owner’s brief for understated elegance. The building is
made up of repetitive transparent research areas that provided ease of
expansion and an economy of means in form, dimension, and materials.
For this Computational Research and Visualization building (CRVB),
the Desert Research Institute (DRI)desired architecture of understated
elegance, permanence and an impression of the importance of its
internal research operations. Equally important was the need to plan
for future expansion as the budget was restrained and the project
needed to be planned for potential phasing. A staggered array of
research modules was developed in direct response to the program.
The building mass traverses the natural topography of the sloping site
and takes advantage of extending the south facing front along the
east west axis with minimal impact on the site. The south elevation
is dressed in a curtain wall assembly to maximize views for individual
research offices and minimize electrical demand. Maximizing the
natural daylight with a curtain wall proposed the need for extended
overhangs of 12’-0” and additional horizontal sunshades in order to
idealize the solar gain for the appropriate sun angles throughout the year.
The building floor plan partly represents a direct interpretation of the
master plan strategies set forth in the “concept design report” which was
executed by DRI’s consultant and staff. The desire was to have a series
of research areas capable of operating in collaboration. With that, a
central circulation path acts as an the organizing element connecting
the staggered pods with collaborative one between. The collaboration
zones are articulated as concrete towers which act as a major
structural cores, as well as, the mechanical penthouses for each pod.
DRI’s premiere attraction for this facility is the Computer Activated
Virtual Environment (CAVE) is located on the North side of the
building. The CAVE is given its own formal identity as a taller vertical
element wrapped in red flat metal panels as a counterpoint to the
repetitive transparency of the building. It is designed as a blackbox
to house the state-of-the art six-sided virtual environment
equipment which is one of four that exist in the United States.
The Computational Research and Visualization Building is DRI’s first building to fully embrace
the principles of sustainable design. The CRV Building is constructed primarily of reinforced
concrete, steel and glass. These materials were selected to help the building withstand
the passage of time. The use of concrete also provides a “thermal wheel” that helps to
stabilize the building’s internal temperature by absorbing and releasing heat. The glass
used for the building’s south wall was chosen for its excellent thermal performance, as
well as appearance. The project is currently seeking a LEED Gold Certification. There are
five major components to LEED; sustainable site, water, energy & atmosphere, materials
& resources and indoor environmental quality. Some of the highlights from each area
that are incorporated into this building are as follows:
Alternate transportation is provided with sixteen secured bicycle spaces as well as three
conveniently located parking spaces for low-emitting and fuel efficient vehicles. As
a bonus DRI has provided electrical outlets for cars. Fifty percent of the site has been
restored with native or adapted vegetation. DRI has reduced the heat island effect not
only by the use of light colored concrete paving and decomposed granite for walking
surfaces but also a white roof to reflect instead of absorb heat. The amount of light that
pollutes the night sky has been reduced to promote “dark skies”.
The CRV Building utilizes water efficient landscaping by using plant material that is
appropriate to our desert climate and provides a 40% reduction in overall water
This was achieved by the installation of low-flow fixtures for sinks, shower heads, urinals
and dual flush toilets.
Energy & Atmosphere:
The CRV Building exceeds energy code by 21.8%! Wall and roof insulation levels, R-16 and
R-19 respectively, were optimized to reduce heat loss through the building envelope.
Windows, skylights and shading devices are designed to bring in natural daylight and
reduce solar gain. Daylight sensors automatically dim lights when adequate levels of
natural daylight illuminate the space. Occupancy sensors turn off lights automatically in
unoccupied rooms. Dual level control and task lighting allows occupants to choose the
lighting levels they want to work in. High efficiency cooling and heating equipment helps
reduce energy. Controls are used to reduce energy by running equipment at lower
speeds when building loads are lower.
Materials & Resources:
During construction, the contractor recycled metals, wood, plastic, drywall, concrete
and much more. The contractor exceeded the 75% required by LEED and achieved
up to 98% recycling throughout construction. Not only did we recycle the construction
material but provided recycled content into the building itself.
Indoor Environmental Quality:
Densely occupied spaces have a CO2 sensor mounted in the breathing zone and a
sensor in the return air ducts to demand controlled ventilation. CO2 sensors help ensure
fresh air is always provided, especially to densely occupied spaces. During construction
extreme measures were taken to avoid dust and toxins from being introduced into the
building. A building flush out was performed prior to occupancy. Low emitting materials
are used within the building to help maintain a healthy environment for the occupants in
conjunction with green cleaning supplies.
One of the best aspects of the building is its daylight design which provides a pleasant work
environment for DRI employees and reduces electrical demand. Overall the building
provides the correct function for the owner, a healthy environment for the employees
and an elegant building for the community.