Michael J. Homer Science and Student Life Center

Atherton, California

  • Architect: Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects
  • Contractor: DPR Construction
  • Developer: Sacred Heart Schools
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Credit: ┬ęTim Griffith

The nation's first LEED for Schools Platinum project promises substantial energy savings and a sustainable legacy.

The campus of the Sacred Heart School comprises a main building, built in 1898, and several other buildings scattered over a sixty-four-acre park-like setting. The new two-story, 45,000 sf Science and Student Life Center includes a 300-seat dining hall, a faculty lunch room, a kitchen, a 700-seat auditorium, and a suite of student-services offices on the ground floor. Five to seven state-of-the-art science laboratory classrooms are located on the second floor, with associated storage, prep, and faculty offices.

The building's exposed structural elements include steel curtain wall framing and inverted V-shaped buckling restrained braced frames. The highlight of the exposed structural system can be found in the auditorium, where exposed king-post trusses not only perform the structural function of supporting a roof span over 85 feet but also function as an architectural attraction within the space. High-strength rods and intricately machined steel were used to create an elegant bottom chord that visually directs the attention to the stage and creates playful lighting effects on the curved acoustical ceiling.

The seismic system can be easily repaired or replaced after a seismic event to minimize the building's downtime and increase its lifespan.

The project received Platinum LEED-for-Schools certification, a testament to the design team's successful incorporation of sustainability goals, which include natural ventilation, water-saving plumbing, water-efficient landscaping, photovoltaic panels, daylighting, and a living roof. The Homer Center boasts an energy use of 69 percent less and a water use of 50 percent less than the typical school.

The Homer Center also received the 2010 AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects Award and the Sustainable San Mateo County Green Building Award.






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