RMW Architecture & Interiors was in charge of designing Lawrence Berkeley National Lab [LBNL] Building 74 in Berkeley, California. The idea was to repurpose the old building into a modern research facility. Building 74 presented a challenge in the project given that the building consists of five separate structures cobbled together for since 50 years ago.
The building’s mechanical systems were also out of date, garnering a ‘poor’ seismic rating. Despite the challenge, the firm was able to turn Building 74 into LBNL’s first cohesive research facility with LEED Platinum certified facility.
Building 74 is a 45,32-square-foot research facility housing approximately 140 climate scientists, geophysicists, geochemists, computer scientists, microbiologists, engineers, and hydrogeologists. The research facility fits the latest features of sustainable architecture and engineer as well as an infrastructure.
That being the case, it is able to fulfill the requirements of the modern science facility. The building comes with research spaces, including geothermal laboratories with a computed tomography imaging scanner. Public areas were tailored to encourage collaboration and ease the flow of people throughout the building. Building 74 also has a courtyard landscaped for outdoor dining, a small cafeteria, and a central meeting room.
Considering that the majority of ESD’s research leans toward environmental responsibility, RMW adopted a sustainable approach to Building 74. Such plans allow the building to attain LEED Platinum certification with the use of high-efficiency rooftop air conditioning units, a new centralized heating and plumbing network, a cool roof made of sun-reflecting materials, and solar hot water heating panels.
The building also has computer-controlled lighting, ventilation, heating, and cooling. Meanwhile, RMW incorporated an HVAC system into the lab spaces’ structure to ensure 100% outside air. They also cut a bank of new high-efficiency windows into the windowless middle floor of the east wing to provide daylight and views.