A student-focused landmark and place of arrival – Designed to impress
CO Architects designed the 140,000-square-foot Student Services Building (SSB) as a new gateway to the California State Polytechnic University (Cal Poly) campus in Pomona, about 30 miles east of Los Angeles. As a gateway building, the SSB welcomes students registering for classes and applying for financial aid and alumni actively involved in the campus community. It also serves as a meeting place for prospective students and their families who gather on campus for campus tours.
Optimised energy management with protection from the desert climate
The SSB was roofed with an undulating Kalzip standing seam roof that spans over two separate structures. Both the form and orientation are focused on performance and function, with the aim of optimising energy management and maximising daylight. The architects designed the roof as the primary performance factor for the curved building to achieve an advantageous energy use intensity (EUI) of 31 (average is 65).
It ties the building into its context by creating a memorable entry into the university that relates to the campus topography, foothills and the nearby San Gabriel Mountains. The building’s roof acts as the main shading device to provide shelter from the prevailing desert climate. The architects conducted extensive daylight, glare and solar heat-gain analysis modelling to optimise the roof geometry, minimise energy loads for lighting and cooling, and increase the visual and thermal comfort of the occupants. Due to the sustainable benefits of the aluminium roof, the project was awarded with the LEED Platinum certification.
On-site production of Kalzip profiled sheets
The 90,000-square-foot roof’s perforated metal overhangs, which range from five to 28 feet deep depending on orientation, not only provides shade to the open pedestrian walkway between the complex’s two wings, but also protects the aluminium-framed, low-e reflective glass exterior wall from the sun, filters dappled sunlight and optimises daylight to the interior spaces. The Kalzip profiled sheets were manufactured on site using roll forming technology to achieve the complex curvature of the roof. Approximately 19,000 fixing clips were required to attach the profiled sheets. The continuous east-west orientation of the standing seam panels gives the roof structure and grain, while the skylights provide more daylight on the top floor. Standing seam roofs are rarely this complex. This innovative application is in line with CO Architects’ approach of using digital technology to explore, analyse and optimise different options, as well as facilitating the transition from design directly to fabrication and installation through the use of BIM.
A connection to the heart of the campus
The wide, open breezeway separates the three-story main building from the two-story wing that houses the multi-purpose centre and human resources department. This arcade leads from the main parking area to the student union and library. It is designed to look like a shaded outdoor street, lined with seating and gathering spaces. At the same time, the arcade connects students to the heart of the campus.
Modular planning and strategic placement of core building elements (shafts, utility rooms, restrooms) allow for flexible and easily reconfigured use of space. The interior design accentuates intuitive wayfinding, with colour and sound barriers made of compressed recycled plastic separating the different departments.
Enhancing well-being through naturally lit workspaces.
From inside the facility, the view opens onto a central courtyard, providing light to the interior spaces. This outdoor space features 50-foot tall trees (once fully grown) and courtyard seating that serves as a bridging area for students waiting to access service centres or meet with university staff. Conference rooms are strategically placed around the courtyard to provide users with open views and access to natural light. On the top floor, the university president and provost offices are in an open, loft-like space with high ceilings, skylights and access to a terrace near all break rooms.
The lighting is LED throughout. The horizontal distribution of air and cable ducts was clearly divided to avoid conflicts, maximise efficiency and facilitate access. The solar-optimised design has the potential to provide naturally lit workspaces for the majority of the eight-hour work period, reducing energy impact and increasing wellbeing benefits.
The building was constructed with sustainability in mind, using eco-friendly materials and state-of-the-art technology. It’s a testament to the team’s dedication to creating a future-oriented construction project.