Within a campus context of rolling hills, mature trees, and free-standing classically inspired brick buildings, the new center for global studies is a distinctive modern counterpart to its neighbors, embodying the international reach of its programs and orientation to the future.
The design is motivated by two essential concepts: an open and fluid relationship to the lush campus landscape, and a Commons as the focus for gathering and exchange. A two-story band of offices, seminars, and meeting rooms floats above a transparent ground floor that flows into the surrounding landscape. A penthouse story houses Visiting International Scholars.
At the heart of the building is the Commons-a three-story space for international events, gatherings, and exchange- opening on one side to a broad outdoor terrace, and a grove of three existing heritage oaks. Surrounding the Commons are breakout lounge areas, a 250-seat auditorium, classrooms for video-conferencing, and an inviting café. A broad mezzanine lounge opens to the Commons below.
Energy efficiency shaped the massing and conception of the building envelope in this hot southerly climate. The long east, west, and shorter south walls are enclosed in brick with a syncopated pattern of small windows. The Commons is marked on the west wall with a large window onto the terrace shielded by a series of sculptural sunshades. On the north faces not exposed to heat gain, a full glass window wall opens to the campus and invites generous natural daylight deep into the interior. On-site storm water retention, green roof, and limited interior water use including a gray water recirculation system constitute important water management features.