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Lab with ceiling service panel

The Agensys campus is a consolidation of four different client sites throughout the city of Santa Monica, Calif., into one research campus. The facility consists of flexible research labs and support spaces, a GMP manufacturing and pilot plant, a central plant, administrative offices, a fitness center, a public café, a sculpture garden and a conferencing center.

The numbers

  • Budget: $67 million
  • Size: 173,000 sf
  • Completion date: Q1 2013

Thinking outside the box
From the outset the project required creative thinking and a marriage with the existing community. After the initial concept tracked well over budget, the city added requirements that this new project provide a public walkway through the middle of the campus and that they reuse some of the existing structures to architecturally link the new Agensys campus to the adjacent Bergamot Art District. In the image below, note in addition to the pedestrian walkway, a public sculpture garden showcasing art by local artists is incorporated into the site and provides a link to the adjacent art galleries. The café and fitness center were also opened to public use. Flexible, out-of-the-box thinking yielded a design that satisfied the budget, the city and produced a beautiful site that blends into the community.

Flexible manufacturing and lab design
Within the labs, shared support spaces are centrally located to encourage collaboration and eliminate redundancy of spaces and equipment. The project also includes:

  • Flexible design which supports future needs for growth and change in technology. Each lab was designed on the same building module with the same utility services located in overhead ceiling panels. This flexible approach makes relocating lab groups easy. In turn, this eliminates costly demolition and construction for future lab modifications.
  • Agensys has standardized on the same moveable furniture at all their sites. This allows for reuse from other locations and allows for more options when relocating people.
  • The manufacturing building design included a more “open” layout. This concept allows for a much better use of space and a lower cost per sf.

Energy efficiency and sustainability
This project achieved LEED Silver certification and earned over $140,000 in utility company rebates. Energy-saving design features include:

  • The use of limited windows on the south side of the facility to cut down on air-conditioning costs.
  • All lab lighting was tied to occupancy sensors so lights are turned off when rooms are unoccupied.
  • Ample bike parking and showers encourage local employees to commute via bicycle.
  • Taking advantage of the moderate climate, a large outdoor eating area was designed, thus reducing the HVAC required to service café seating areas.

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Pedestrian path and reused structure.

The following MEP engineering design measures were taken to provide cost and energy savings:

  • High-efficiency lighting system with occupancy sensors in offices and shutoff timer for labs.
  • High-efficiency central chilled water plant and cooling towers with VSD fans and high-efficiency boilers.
  • Wall insulation was increased to R-19.
  • Roof insulation was increased to R-27.
  • VAV office and lab ventilation.
  • Use of high-performance, low-e, insulated glazing on the east elevation.
  • Use of high-efficiency water heaters.
  • Energy Pro modeling to insure a cost-saving design.

The results
This award-winning Agensys campus incorporates the local and neighboring communities into the campus. It’s a perfect marriage between energy-efficient design, space flexibility and budget.

The team
HLW International, Los Angeles (architect and lab planner); CRB Engineers, San Diego (MEP engineer); Structural Focus, Gardena, Calif. (structural engineer).

Don E. Holden is an Associate, Certified Project Manager (CPM) and Senior Electrical Specialist at Clark, Richardson and Biskup (CRB) Consulting Engineers. Holden has been in the electrical engineering field for over 35 years, the last 28 years with CRB. Holden heads the S&T effort for CRB’s San Diego office.