Award-Winning University of California Irvine Contemporary Arts Center
UC Irvine’s award-winning Contemporary Arts Building
Irvine, California is home to mild temperatures, regular winds, and low humidity. When designing their new Contemporary Arts Center, University of California Irvine wanted to take advantage of Irvine’s temperate climate to naturally ventilate the new building and maximize its sustainability. The challenge was handling the occasional multi-day heat waves that could make a building that did not have conditioned air highly uncomfortable for occupants.
CPP analyzed the local wind environment and the indoor air flow throughout the Art Center. CPP’s experts developed a 1:180-scale model of the buildings and its surroundings and tested them in one of CPP’s wind tunnels. The model was tested to measure wind pressure on the exterior of the building. Those effects were used in conjunction with computer simulations that assessed indoor air temperatures and the volume and speed of indoor air movement.
From this study, CPP recommended modifications to the design that allowed for greater comfort and usability, even during heat waves. The study recommended that building occupants be given greater control over temperature and ventilation. Venting was added to the bottom of studio spaces to increase air movement and provide better cooling on hot days. Windows open outward to allow for greater air flow. The building’s geometry was modified to draw fresh air from the corridor into the offices. All of this allowed for greater use of natural breezes to control temperature, providing a highly sustainable workspace.