BAR has been retained by the Buck Institute for Research on Aging to create workforce housing for the post-doctoral candidates that come to the institute for continued study. Working to become fully “off-the-grid” within the near future, the Institute’s goal is to provide a cost-effective, highly sustainable housing project directly contiguous to the research facilities designed by I.M. Pei. By creating convenient, affordable housing for its employees, the Institute hopes to dramatically reduce employee trips and enhance the cultural connection within the research campus.
The project is anticipated to include a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units in two- and three-story buildings. All units will take advantage of natural flow-thru ventilation and enhanced day-lighting to minimize energy costs. Cooling will take advantage of the institute’s directly adjacent, massive, newly installed geothermal field. To minimize the off-site impacts, the site will serve as a repository for surplus soil generated from some of the Institute’s other campus projects.
Careful attention has been given to the placement of the surplus soil and buildings to protect the many mature oak trees on this bucolic site. Buildings have been distributed along existing grade, and auto circulation has been minimized to help limit site disruption and reduce pervious paved surfaces limiting “heat island” impacts. Rain-water harvesting will supplement irrigation needs and control storm water discharge.
Building design is restrained and understated with an aesthetic that respects the natural beauty of the site, the contemporary architecture of the existing I.M. Pei research facilities and the many Eichler mid-century modern houses in the area.