Swinerton Builders' work to modernize the Gates-Thomas Laboratory at Caltech has achieved LEED® Gold. This is the first project in California and the first higher education facility in the United States to earn LEED Gold under BD+C v4; under the U.S. Green Building Council's new robust LEED v4 program, projects must meet a much more complex grading criteria before being determined LEED certified.
Home to the Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering, the 70-year-old facility is listed as a historic building in Caltech's master plan with the City of Pasadena. With three stories above-grade and two below-grade, Swinerton partnered with architect AC Martin to fully modernize the 54,000-square-foot interior for today's future leaders.
As part of the retrofit, the roof was redone to allow for new rooftop mechanical equipment. The historic doors, windows, and façade were also retrofitted, while the exterior hardscape was redone with new retaining walls, rails, and landscaping, and existing concrete walls, beams, and columns were reinforced. Swinerton self-performed extensive concrete work, including all the new concrete site retaining walls, slab-on-grade, slab-on-metal deck, and the three-story stairwell.
To qualify for LEED Gold, many sustainable features were added, including: LED lighting, natural daylighting, smart occupancy controls, high-efficiency fixtures, and low-flow toilets. In the outside public spaces, Swinerton installed a drip-irrigation system, along with landscaping featuring native vegetation and drought-tolerant species adapted to the local climate.