UCLA’s Luskin Conference Center is LEED Platinum and one of the most sustainable hotels in the country.
The Univ. of California Los Angeles’ Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center sets a new standard for conference centers and hotels, not just in a campus setting, but for the hospitality industry as a whole. The $162-million building earned LEED Platinum certification and is considered one of the most sustainable hotels in the United States.
Supporting the center’s sustainability goals, acoustic performance and access to natural light were key contributors. Windows dominate the conference center’s lobby and meeting rooms, flooding the interior with sunshine. Wausau Window and Wall Systems, Wausau, WI (wausauwindow.com), provided high-performance windows, terrace doors, and a curtainwall to help manage exterior noise and interior comfort, while contributing to the building’s overall energy efficiency.
Architect Hornberger + Worstell, San Francisco, in partnership with associate architects Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, San Francisco, designed the 294,000-sq.-ft., seven-story building for multi-purpose use: to host conferences featuring noted scholars, innovators, and thought leaders, and to offer comfortable and contemporary accommodations for visiting experts and other UCLA guests.
The center has 254 guest rooms and more than 25,000 sq. ft. of event space, including 24 meeting rooms, a tiered classroom, and a 750-guest ballroom. The building also hosts a 162-seat full-service restaurant and lounge, onsite catering services, fitness and business centers, and an outdoor event terrace overlooking the campus.
UCLA’s motto, “fiat lux,” translates from Latin as “let there be light,” providing a source of inspiration for the conference center. Although windows dominate the lobby and meeting rooms in the building, flooding the interior with sunshine, UCLA chief sustainability officer Nurit Katz noted that the bright interior is more than an architectural feature. “Maximizing the use of natural light also reduces energy consumption,” she said. The high thermal performance of Wausau’s windows, doors and curtainwall systems further support this goal.
General contractor Morley Builders, Santa Monica, CA, kept the project on schedule. Working closely with them, the glazing contractor installed almost 10,000 sq. ft. of SuperWall curtainwall on the entry side of the center. Integrated within the curtainwall are more than a dozen 4250-Z series zero-sightline, screened awning vents and four roof-access casements.
In addition to the curtainwall, more than 300 units of Wausau’s 4250i-OS INvent series offset windows and 20 units of TD-4250i series project-in terrace doors with Juliet rails were installed.
The windows and doors are tested to meet AW Architectural Performance Class requirements set by the North American Fenestration Standard AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440-11 (NAFS). The standard includes stringent criteria for air, water, and structural performance.
Validating the performance and appearance of these systems, Wausau provided a full-scale mock-up. This allowed cost-effective adjustments prior to the company manufacturing all of the systems as ordered, and ensured the final systems met the required specifications and intended architectural vision.
For a uniform look on the Luskin Conference Center, the terrace doors and windows have matching 4 1/2-in.-deep aluminum framing members. Adding to the building’s distinctive appearance, the windows’ glass pane is recessed 1 1/4 in. from the exterior face and complemented with custom, aluminum panning profiles.
Accentuating and protecting the window, door, and curtainwall systems, Linetec, Wausau, WI, finished the aluminum framing members and panning in a bronze color tone. The metallic finishes were applied using a Valspar’s Fluropon Classic II three-coat, 70% PVDF resin-based mica coating. As a recognized, environmentally responsible finisher, Linetec captures the liquid paints’ volatile organic compounds (VOCs) content using a 100% air-capture system and safely destroys the VOCs with a regenerative thermal oxidizer. The company then re-uses its heat-energy byproduct to improve process energy efficiency. This process of re-use is completed before the material exits the paint line.
With the adjacent Pauley Pavilion and close to 46,000 students circulating throughout the UCLA campus grounds, acoustical performance for the conference center was a priority. The majority of Wausau’s systems meet a Sound Transmission Coefficient (STC) of 32, and the windows and doors facing the athletic venue meet a higher STC 35-38.
Along with acoustic comfort, conference center guests enjoy a comfortable indoor temperature in the California sun thanks, in part, to Owatonna, MN-based Viracon’s VNE 13-63 clear Opti-White solar-control, low-e, insulating glass, and Wausau’s windows and doors’ polyamide thermal barriers. A custom air vent at the top of the windows integrates with the conference center’s HVAC system.
When the weather allows, the windows’ air vents and terrace doors can be opened for natural ventilation. The combination of high thermal-performance glass and operable doors also helps to further reduce the building’s HVAC load and associated energy use.
Promoting comfort and access for all, the conference center is fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. This includes Wausau’s casement units, which have ADA hardware. Other accessible building features include entrances and exits, guest rooms, meeting spaces, parking area, lobby, service counters, restaurant, and bathrooms.
In addition to the UCLA Luskin Conference Center’s energy-efficient, high-performance windows, many other components of the building’s construction were designed for maximum sustainability: the landscaping is drought-tolerant; many of the building materials came from recyclable and renewable resources, including 92% of the steel framing and 50% of the wood used throughout. The building also strives to be a zero-waste facility.
The center’s many green-building achievements have earned it a recognized place as California’s second LEED Platinum-certified building of its kind, and the sixth newly constructed venue of its kind in the nation to be certified LEED Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council, Washington. Sustainability, indoor environmental quality, innovation in design, and energy and atmosphere were listed among the building’s highest-performing strengths.
The UCLA Luskin Conference Center also has been honored with the Sustainability Award at the Los Angeles Architectural Awards presented by the Los Angeles Business Council and was featured by Engineering News Record with an Award of Merit as one of the ENR California 2017 Best Projects.
“I’m tremendously proud to work for an institution that prioritizes the importance of sustainability and to have endeavored on this project with donors and professionals that shared those values,” said UCLA assistant vice chancellor of Housing and Hospitality Services, Peter Angelis. “The design team did everything possible to incorporate sustainability in a meaningful way to ensure that this building and operation will leave the smallest environmental impact possible.”