UC Merced SSM — Merced, CA
Reconciling Seismic and Thermal Stability
- 120,000 SF
- STUDIOS Architecture
- Sundt Construction
- Sharon Risedorph
The Social Sciences and Management Building is a three-story interdisciplinary facility that provides classroom, office and research space to the School of Social Science at University of California, Merced. Situated along the main campus thoroughfare, the building forms a link between the existing academic buildings and the future expansion of the campus.
The structural design of this building was integrated through the use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) for construction documents. Design elements incorporated the agrarian nature of valley architecture within an institutional context. An external stair in a silo-like structure and clerestory lanterns illuminate the large volume interior halls.
The structural system was seismically resilient, allowing for rapid re-occupancy after a major earthquake, while also providing many of the architectural finishes and thermal mass to regulate temperature in the challenging Central Valley climate. Exposed concrete columns, walls and floor slabs act as solar shades in addition to exposed thermal mass to minimize any additional heating and cooling requirements. The exposed structure reduced the need for additional finish materials thereby avoiding additional construction costs. A king post truss spans the atrium allowing a clerestory window to bring light deep within the space.
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