Sneak Peek: An All-Electric Net-Zero Student Center in The Desert

In Palm Desert, outside Palm Springs, California, LPA designers are working with California State University San Bernardino administrators and student leadership to develop a net-zero student center for a fast-growing satellite campus. The building is sited to create a central plaza protected from the harsh desert winds. The space will be covered by a sunlight-filtering canopy; a roof-mounted photovoltaic array will generate 100% of the facility’s energy.

“The design takes inspiration from the surrounding natural settings to create something that is reflective of the desert and canyon-like environment,” says LPA Design Director Ozzie Tapia.

The Palm Desert Campus Student Center is envisioned as a flagship project that will set the tone for build-out of the campus master plan. The facility will include student life programs, a wellness center, library functions, food services and multipurpose spaces that can be shared with the community. Amphitheater seating, shaded spaces and connection to the campus’ new Palm Canyon Walk maintain meaningful links to the outdoors, despite the desert setting. A planned 50-foot-tall clock tower at the entry to the plaza will provide an iconic presence to the new center of campus life.

“The student center is designed to elevate the collegiate experience and create the 24/7 environment that students were asking for on the Palm Desert campus,” Tapia says.