A LEED Platinum ‘Global Gallery’ for CSU San Bernardino

California State University, San Bernardino’s Center for Global Innovation integrates academics with a meaningful social experience for the school’s diverse population.

In the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) has drawn a diverse student population, reflecting the demographics of the fast-growing Southern California Inland Empire. In addition to a dynamic international student body, CSUSB has the second-highest African American and Hispanic enrollments of all public universities in California; 70% of those who graduate are the first in their families to receive a degree.

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The new facility provides the diverse student population places to socialize and study.

While the university is regularly listed among the top academic schools in the region, the Sierra Club named CSUSB one of “America’s Coolest Schools,” in recognition of the university’s focus on creating a unique student experience on campus.

When the design process started for the new Center for Global Innovation (CGI), the university wanted a facility that would go beyond the standard offerings of this project type to address the social, cultural and academic priorities on campus.

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Shielded areas reduce the solar gain on the building and create new gathering spots on campus.

“We knew the center would need to serve many roles,” says LPA Director of Higher Education Steve Flanagan. “The school really wanted to redefine itself around student life.”

LPA already had a long-established history with the campus, helping to design several landmark campus buildings, including the College of Education and the ongoing expansion of the existing Santos Manuel Student Union. Developed through an informed design process that involved an integrated team of engineers and landscape architects, the different buildings are linked by outdoor social spaces and a pedestrian promenade.

“It was important that the new Center for Global Innovation connect with the other facilities on campus to create a comprehensive campus fabric,” says LPA Project Designer Ozzie Tapia. “But it also needed to have its own character, recognizing the key role it would play on campus.”

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A rooftop terrace offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.

The three-story, 70,000-square-foot, LEED Platinum CGI responds to aspects of the unique site — including the hot climate, high winds and proximity to a seismic fault — while creating a new hub for the student experience on campus. Its location and design provide an inclusive environment for the diverse student population to connect and be together The central lobby is conceived as a “global gallery,” a dynamic yet comfortable space that gives foreign students a home base.Digital screens, writable surfaces and flexible furniture provide students with a wide variety of spaces to study, share ideas or relax.

Inspired by a typical town square, the lobby is conceptualized as a gathering space and provides a guide for the arrangement of the programmatic elements in the building. Classroom spaces for the College of Extended Learning are on the lower floors for easy wayfinding and campus access, while student services become a destination on the top floor, including a rooftop terrace framing views of the San Bernardino Mountains. A series of decks on each floor provide spaces for students to socialize or study in groups. With views of Coyote Walk, the main pedestrian campus, the gallery creates an opportunity for students to connect with their university environment, on social, educational and cultural levels.

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LPA has designed several facilities on campus, which are linked by outdoor social spaces and a pedestrian promenade.

The building form responds to climatic conditions and seeks to make the environment a part of the CGI experience. Indoor and outdoor social and learning spaces are shaded and protected from the elements by the three-tiered building. Classrooms and office areas are designed with direct and meaningful views to the outdoors. The lobby extends to the exterior seating areas — creating a thriving indoor-outdoor “living room” for students.

Through the informed design process, the integrated LPA team was able to consider more far-reaching impacts to the rest of the campus, such as site ecology, biodiversity, water usage and climate, resulting in a more efficient and functional building. Enhanced structural components address the location near California’s San Andreas fault. Self-shading overhangs, access to natural daylight and an Energy Star cool roof help reduce energy consumption, while a 160kw photovoltaic array offsets 50% of the building’s energy use. All stormwater is collected and polished via bioswales.

In addition to achieving LEED Platinum certification, the completed project surpasses California Title 24 by 26.8% and reduces energy use by 76% from a baseline to meet the AIA 2030 Commitment target.

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Ecology, biodiversity and water usage are addressed in the informed design approach.

In many ways, the new facility is changing the course of the campus. What was simply a building for students to attend class and leave is now creating a sense of place for students, says Jennifer Sorenson, Associate Vice President Facilities Planning and Management.

“We didn’t have much usable outdoor space, and students really didn’t congregate outside,” Sorenson says. “But in just the short time the Center for Global Innovation has been open, it’s become a heavily utilized site that offers students an amazing interaction space.”