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UNLV Libraries -> Architecture Studies Library -> Las Vegas Guides and Collections ->
AIA Nevada Design & Service Awards Archive -> 2009 awards -> DRI-CRVB


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

Design Team:
Architecture Firm: Sheehan Van Woert Bigotti
Architect of Record: Klai Juba Architects
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.

Sustainable Description:
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:

Sustainable Site:
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 consumption.

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.



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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 10:50:06 PST