The UCLA Geffen School of Medicine is an 110,000 square-feet academic building comprised of teaching spaces, including Problem Based Learning rooms (PBL) conference rooms, teaching labs, case study rooms, auditorium, multi-purpose room, dean’s offices, student affairs, a lounge and a cafeteria. The project is located at the southeastern edge of the UCLA campus. The final Construction Budget was $80.4 million.
- Challenges Presented
The mission for the design of the Geffen Hall at the UCLA School of Medicine included: the design of a building creating a new identity and front door to the UCLA School of Medicine; a building which through its design would foster a sense of community among students, faculty and staff; and a building that would engage the neighboring community of Westwood.
The building site presented additional challenges, being comprised of two split level zones, one of which was mostly devoted to a traffic circle servicing three separate parking structures. Access to the parking and parking counts had to be maintained at all times. This, however, presented an opportunity to transform a vehicle oriented environment into a pedestrian gateway for the campus.
- Resolution / Outcome
Located at the southeastern corner of the University of California Los Angeles campus and the neighboring Westwood community, the Geffen School of Medicine presents a new gateway to the School of Medicine and the UCLA campus as a whole. The design creates an “open” building, allowing students, and the public in general, to enter and move through the building, from its southern entry plaza through its open courtyard and beyond to the upper CRC plaza, thus strengthening campus connectivity and the public realm. At its heart, the project is defined by an open courtyard with active edges designed to encourage informal learning and social activities. Around the courtyard, 110,000 square-feet of program — including classrooms, auditorium, seminar rooms, multi-purpose room, teaching labs and office space — are organized and articulated as a series of brick and metal volumes that give intimacy to the spaces, and allow the building to scale down from the existing CHS towards the botanical garden. By inviting pedestrian traffic through the building and rerouting neighboring streets, the project transforms an area previously devoted to vehicular traffic into a pedestrian entryway to the campus.
The design approach to the project included two parallel studies. On the one hand, the functional and interior modules were studied optimizing the best configuration and dimensions for the various teaching spaces including Problem Based Learning Rooms, multipurpose rooms, teaching labs, and seminar rooms. Sectional and plan relationships between these modules was established though a series of workshops with the client. Concurrently with this “inside- out “approach, the site issues were studies using three-dimensional massing concepts that could best integrate the functional volumes into a coherent architectural scheme. The project was the result of the synthesis of these parallel efforts.
- Maintenance, Functional and Operational Objectives
Long term operational and functional an objective for the project were addressed through the development of a flexible and adaptable design; the use of local, durable and low maintenance materials such as brick; and the selection of systems that met the long term operational and sustainability goals for the project for the university and school of medicine.
UCLA Geffen Hall School of Medicine has achieved LEED Platinum Certification. The principal passive strategies adopted are the result of a design in which the public circulation and principal ceremonial space and lobby are open and naturally ventilated. Brick punched wall systems in combination with vertical aluminum projections were deployed along the east and west orientation to diminish solar heat gain. Active systems include radiant cooling and heating floor for lobby spaces, and under air distribution at large teaching spaces. Water efficiency is achieved through efficient fixtures, toilet flushing systems and rainwater collection for irrigation. The design also incorporates economic and environmentally-preferable materials such as local brick and reconstituted wood products.
The project is LEED Platinum certified. Environmentally-preferable materials were incorporated, including exposed thermal mass to reduce peak cooling loads and enable natural ventilation for longer hours. Recycled, local, and low-emitting materials were used where possible. Adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings, flooring, carpet, and composite wood all comply with the LEED requirements. Wherever possible the team went beyond LEED requirements to consider low-embodied energy materials and low-toxicity materials, which is especially important as a health education facility.
SOM is one of the leading urban design and planning, architecture, interior design and engineering firms in the world, with a nearly 81-year reputation for design excellence that includes some of the most important architectural accomplishments of the 20th and 21st centuries.
We have completed more than 10,000 projects across 50 countries. Highly regarded for our iconic, timeless design principles and our steadfast commitment to technology, innovation, and sustainability, SOM’s portfolio contains some of the greatest design achievements in the modern era. We have deep experience in Master Planning and in a vast range of building types, from cutting-edge research facilities to soaring glass office towers.
Our multi-disciplinary approach brings together the capabilities and services of architects, engineers, interior designers and planners under one roof. It is this team approach that allows SOM to look at each project as a whole, rather than as simply the sum of many parts.