In September 2019, Lynda and Stewart Resnick, owners of LA-based The Wonderful Company, donated $750 million to Caltech to support further environmental sustainability research. This enabled plans to construct a new 80,000-square-foot facility called the Resnick Sustainability Resource Center. Yazdani Studio, the experimental arm of CannonDesign, is behind the building’s design.
The Resnick Sustainability Resource Center will be home to critical research in solar science, climate science, energy, biofuels, decomposable plastics, water and environmental resources, ecology and biosphere engineering, and more. Key spaces within the building include a biosphere engineering facility, a solar science and catalysis center, a remote sensing center, a translational science facility, teaching labs, and lecture and interactive learning spaces.
The facility is designed to be the greenest building on the campus, built with materials that reduce its carbon footprint. The building’s facade takes the shape of an undulating glass sheet that uses fritted low-E glazing and integral shading fins to minimize glare and achieve optimal energy performance. This will also allow natural light to flood the interior spaces and establish a transparent view from outside. The glass curtain wall incorporates a mass timber grid shell. A timber-framed atrium will house the facility’s social and collaborative spaces. A basement level will be connected to the atrium, allowing daylight to reach below ground.
At the ground floor level, an exterior passageway cuts through the building, extending a heavily traveled campus pedestrian route. The passageway can be closed at both ends with glass shutters to host indoor and outdoor events.
“Designing the Resnick Sustainability Resource Center is a humbling and exciting opportunity for our team. We will be creating a first-of-its-kind science building where the world’s brightest minds will meet to quite literally work to save our planet and its natural environment,” said Mehrdad Yazdani, Director of the Yazdani Studio.
The building is designed to limit water consumption, featuring a cooling system that will recycle condenser water to be used elsewhere on campus. Interior finishes will be low-VOC and prioritize renewable and low-embodied carbon materials. Outside, approximately 50 trees to sequester carbon emissions will be planted, along with narive, drought-resistant landscaping to limit the need for irrigation.
The Resnick Sustainability Resource Center will foster a collaborative, multi-disciplinary environment, hosting both graduate and undergraduate students and scientists. Construction of the project is expected to begin in April 2022 with a target completion date in March 2024.