University of California, Merced – Sustainability Research and Engineering Building

The Sustainability Research and Engineering Building is designed to advance UC Merced’s core mission to build sustainability into every aspect of the campus. One of two teaching and research laboratories anchoring the academic quad, the building bridges existing and newly developed areas to contribute vitality and identity to this new heart of campus.

Open office areas and circulation located at the building perimeter maximize daylight and sweeping natural views through to the laboratory blocks at the interior of the building. Areas for meeting, informal gathering, and circulation promote interaction between students, researchers, and departments, fostering community within a forward-looking learning environment.

To maximize flexibility, both wet and dry laboratories are organized into modules and set within a standard structural grid, which enables them to be customized and reconfigured over time for an evolving curriculum. A central chemical storage and distribution facility, designed to support science buildings campus-wide, is located in the basement of the building adjacent to the loading dock.

A south-facing arcade along the length of the quad creates a protected circulation path and a shaded gathering area directly outside the ground floor classrooms. Within the arcade, a pedestrian-permeable glass wall encourages passage between classrooms, collaboration spaces, and the quad, seamlessly connecting interior and exterior gathering spaces for students and staff.

Using strategic roof overhangs and wall extensions to reduce solar heat gain, along with efficient lighting and mechanical systems, the LEED Platinum-certified building is designed to support the University’s goal of achieving “triple net zero” sustainability—zero net energy, zero landfill waste, and zero net greenhouse gas emissions.