The County of Orange sought to consolidate 13 departments into a 500,000-square-foot Civic Center, creating a “one-stop shop” for public services. Central to the project was the need for resilience. In the event of an earthquake, government agencies must be able to respond immediately to the needs of citizens and bounce back quickly without exorbitant repair costs. Balancing resilience with cost-efficiency while maintaining a welcoming civic presence were at the center of one of the largest public-private partnerships in California.
LPA’s integrated team designed the two six-story buildings from the inside out. Rather than starting with a building shell and trying to fit in the programming, designers worked with the county to organize the functional aspects of the building in the most efficient way possible. Doing this minimized the project’s cost, allowing more of the budget to go into maximizing resilience, function, energy efficiency and aesthetic impact. Architects and engineers coordinated to optimize the mechanical and structural systems layouts while maximizing the usable space for the client. This effort reduced the costs associated with both the structural and mechanical systems while also decreasing the floor-to-floor height at each story.