AC Martin takes an unusual and environmentally friendly approach to the design of a new parking structure.
AC Martin Partners, Inc. (ACMP) is leading the way in socially-relevant campus design with a new main parking facility at California State University-Fullerton. The building's environmental features have been designed to express the university's and ACMP's share ethic of social responsibility and technical innovation by literally "greening" the campus. ACMP's design also gives the campus community pause for reflection with a stunning entry façade of glass and steel.
"This structure will play an important role in the evolution of the university's built environment," says Kenneth Lewis, AIA, president of ACMP and principal architect on the project. As the university's master plan architect, ACMP continues to bring architectural solutions to the population of more than 30,000 students, faculty and employees, as well as to the surrounding community. The five-story, 2,500-car facility will consolidate the space of several open lots currently scattered throughout the campus. The structure also will mark a new main entry at the southwest corner of the campus, which faces a residential neighborhood.
Distinguishing the parking structure is a "living wall" or "green screen" system of fast-growing flowering vines that will wrap three sides of the structure, including the two that face toward the community. As a contemporary and environmentally sensitive alternative to the usual construction of thick concrete fronted by a traditional colonnade of trees, the living walls will consume carbon dioxide, soften the building's mass and allow for greater ventilation and visibility through the structure. The greenery also makes a contextual nod to the campus' site history—formerly 238 acres of orange groves.
"Our design exhibits the ecological commitment that CSU-Fullerton has toward the campus community and the greater public," explains Lewis. Anticipating increased use of alternative energy forms, ACMP will equip the parking structure with a series of stalls for electric cars. To maintain sensible energy use and to combat continually rising energy costs, energy-efficient fluorescent lights will be monitored by motion detectors in parking areas. A storm water management system, typically not required for new construction in Orange County, will ensure that rain water collected by the building's surfaces will be routed to the structure's living walls.
ACMP crafted a dynamic entry façade in a composition of perforated metal scrims and glass to puncture the building's identity with an urban edge. Lit from within at night, the overall façade will act as a glowing orientation device on campus, while a frosted glass portion will serve as a project surface for artworks and information. Like the green screens, the façade will not seek to disguise the building's function nor its content. Rather it will obscure the mundane bulk of vehicles while animating the building with a changing pattern of movement and light through a palette of transparent and reflective materials.