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Creating a Sustainable New Academic Science Center

Greg Blackburn, AIA, Anshen+Allen Architects

This poster presentation will serve as a project case study describing and illustrating sustainable design strategies and issues for The CSU Monterey Bay Science Academic Center, which houses an innovative Institute for Earth Systems Science & Policy (ESSP). This new building, the first building on the military-base converted campus, houses a unique multidisciplinary program integrating natural sciences studies with policy and economics related to marine, coastal, and watershed ecological systems. The program includes chemistry, biology, physics, geology science labs, math classrooms, a 100-seat lecture hall and faculty offices. Reflecting the nature of the environmental science curriculum, the Science Academic Center embodies a strong commitment to sustainable design and construction practices.

Labs21 Connection:

Design and specifications for the laboratory building was done to conform and follow the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED™ certification performance standards. Sustainable design, construction and operational goals achieved include:

  • Material, water, and energy conserving measures, calculate to exceed California's Title 24 standard by more than 20 percent.
  • Orientation of the building takes advantage of prevailing winds to naturally ventilate offices and maximize Northern and Southern exposures for natural light.
  • Wood slat sun shading louvers to reduce solar heat loads.
  • Reuse of materials salvaged from demolished military base structures.
  • Roofing with reflective surfaces to minimize heat gains and a drainage system that captures rainwater for watering the courtyard's native plantings.
  • Natural, low VOC, and formaldehyde-free finishes that minimize painting and maintenance.
  • Energy-efficient lighting with occupancy sensor controls.
  • Zoned variable air volume mechanical systems to reduce air conditioning loads.
  • Loft-like classrooms and computer labs with mechanical and electrical services distributed overhead and under a modular raised access floor which reduces mechanical loads.


Gregory Blackburn, AIA, is a Principal of Anshen+Allen Architects and Director of the San Francisco office's laboratory project studios. Gregory has more than 20 years of experience as an architect specializing in the planning, programming, and design of teaching and research laboratory buildings for colleges and universities throughout the United States and internationally.

Gregory received his Bachelor of Arts in Architecture in 1979 from the University of California, Berkeley. Gregory is also a member of the American Institute of Architects and the Society for College and University Planning.

Professional Recognition:

  • Executive in Residence, University of Missouri, Columbia, College of Human Environmental Sciences, 2001.
  • Society for College and University Planning, International Conference 33, Vancouver, B.C.; 1998 Contra Costa Community College District's New South County Campus - an Innovative Public/Private Model for Life-long Learning.
  • Society for College and University Planning, Pacific Regional Conference, San Jose, California; 1997. Workplace of the Future - Sandia National Laboratories.
  • Bourns Hall College of Engineering, University of California, Riverside
    • National Honor Award, AIA, 1996.
    • Honor Award, AIA, California Council, 1996.
    • Honor Award, AIA, Inland Empire Chapter, 1997.
    • Citation, AIA Educational Facilities Review, 1996.

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