Green Building: Blue Oceans
"We work to sustain fisheries and conserve protected marine species. Our new laboratory's sustainable design allows us to extend our mission into our workplace," says Cisco Werner, Director of the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, of the new NOAA Fisheries La Jolla Laboratory.
NOAA Fisheries opens its new La Jolla Laboratory, its most technologically-advanced and environmentally friendly marine science research facility in the United States, on Tuesday, August 27th.
The new laboratory replaces an older facility across La Jolla Shores Drive that sits precariously close to the eroding sand cliffs. The new facility includes 124,000 square feet of office and laboratory space for 277 scientists and support staff from the Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC), the Inter-American Tuna Commission, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The new laboratory was financed by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The lead architectural firm, Gould Evans, designed the facility to take advantage of the local climate and geology while providing an environmentally friendly and visually appealing structure that incorporated the technological needs of a pioneering science organization. The building has already won several architectural honors and achieved LEED Gold certification, which is the second highest rating possible for a new building.
The building reflects the surrounding topography and in fact seems to be an extension of the La Jolla canyon, as if it climbed from the sea to a corner of La Jolla Shores Drive. The topographic design allows open courtyards, terraces and breezeways for the benefit of its inhabitants, accommodates the SWFSC's many research technology requirements, and cultivates synergy.
"We run into people we don't normally work with on the walkways and talk them in the open spaces, we get literal breaths of fresh air in the courtyards. This building encourages collaboration and creativity," says Noelle Bowlin, SWFSC Fishery Biologist.
The sustainable features reduce energy use and include solar panels, storm-water filtration ponds, electric car-charging stations, efficient water usage, an approximately 2,000 square-foot green roof planted with native plants, as well as a variety of environmentally-friendly construction methods and materials.
"The green roofs are beautiful and from nearly the first day, have been frequented by hummingbirds. The large opening office windows let in natural light and air and make this a healthy place to work. They also reduce our carbon footprint," says Sarah Mesnick, SWFSC Science Liaison.
Advanced Technology – the next generation of fisheries and oceanographic instrumentation
The new La Jolla laboratory houses a unique 528,344 gallon sea- and fresh-water Ocean Technology Development Tank which will expand NOAA's pioneering work developing and using acoustics and optics for non-lethal studies of fishes and protected species and enable scientists to develop remotely operated vehicles and autonomous underwater vehicles, gliders, drifters and floats, among other platforms for studying marine ecosystems. The "Tech Tank" will be a national resource for advancing marine science.
In addition, the new building contains an experimental aquarium, a dissection laboratory for determining what kills marine mammals and the eating habits of large fishes such as sharks, a photogrammetry lab used for assessing the health of whales, and labs for studying genetics, sea turtles, Antarctic mammals, animal physiology, oceanography and much more.
"The SWFSC conducts a number of long-running research surveys and monitoring programs. The new laboratory's high-tech and creative design will support these and let us advance the science that is critical to conserving and managing our region's ocean resources," says Roger Hewitt, Assistant Director for Ships and Infrastructure at the SWFSC.
Later in 2013, the Science Center will welcome the recently launched NOAA fisheries survey vessel Reuben Lasker, to be home ported in San Diego. The ship will be equipped with the latest technology for fisheries and oceanographic research, including advanced navigation systems, acoustic sensors, and scientific sampling gear. The vessel was named after the late Dr. Reuben Lasker, a pioneering fisheries biologist who served as the director of the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center's Coastal Fisheries Division.
Architect's Animation of New La Jolla Laboratory
Southwest Fisheries Science Center
Southwest Fisheries Science Center image gallery
Orchids and Onions nomination
Gould Evans (architect's) Case Study
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