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Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.

Soka Performing Arts Center and Academic Building in Orange County, California by Zimmer Gunsul Frasca

December 14th, 2011 by Sanjay Gangal

Article source: Zimmer Gunsul Frasca

Soka Performing Arts Center and Academic Building Achieve LEED Gold Certification

Built by McCarthy Building Companies and designed by Zimmer Gunsul Frasca, the $73 million university project in Orange County utilizes a green roof and solar panels among other environmentally conscious features.

Soka University of America’s new Soka Performing Arts Center and Academic Building project, which opened in September 2011, recently received Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). The Soka Performing Arts Center, which is located on 1.9 acres of the Soka University campus in AlisoViejo, serves as a venue in South Orange County for concerts, theater productions, lectures and assemblies, furthering Soka University’s role as a cultural center and community gathering place.

Night View

  • Architect: Zimmer Gunsul Frasca
  • Name of Project: Soka Performing Arts Center and Academic Building
  • Location: Orange County, California
  • Built by: McCarthy Building Companies
  • Sofwtare used: Autodesk Navisworks Soka Performing Arts Center and Academic Building project. BIM modeling review was utilized for the MEP systems and the structural steel frame for both buildings. This allowed the parties in various locations to “meet” to review the design layout and construction. At the early stages of the project, weekly on-line model review meetings were conducted between the owner, engineer, equipment suppliers, McCarthy and other key site contractors. During construction, specific on-line BIM conferences allowed the team to review any installation conflicts or issues and provide quick resolutions.

“One of Soka University’s guiding principals is to foster leaders for the creative coexistence of nature and humanity, and the Soka Performing Arts Center project demonstrates this socially responsible ideal to our students,” said Arch Asawa, Soka University’s Vice President for Finance and Administration and CFO. “We deeply appreciate the project team for helping us meet our objective to create a world-class LEED Gold Certified facility.”

McCarthy Building Companies served as general contractor and Zimmer Gunsul Frasca was the architect for the $73 million project which included construction of a three-level, 47,836-square-foot Soka Performing Arts Center housing a reception lobby, various support spaces and a 1,000 seat auditorium. McCarthy also built a 48,974-square-foot Academic Building which is located next to and provides support for the Soka Performing Arts Center. The new four-level academic building houses 11 classrooms, 29 faculty offices, a 150-seat black box theater, four dressing rooms, a rehearsal/dance studio, musician warm-up spaces and other support areas.

Exterior View

To successfully address the LEED aspects of the project, the design and construction team employed 15 LEED accredited professionals, and McCarthy used sustainable construction methods throughout the project. These included: recycling approximately 75 percent of construction waste; maintaining proper indoor air quality; utilizing local labor and ensuring that the subcontractors install the specified “green” materials.

Likewise, the design of these structures incorporates numerous sustainable and energy efficiency solutions. The Soka Performing Arts Center and the Academic Building both have a green roof and solar panels. The green roof holds three to four inches of soil filled with succulent plants providing sound insulation as well as insulation for heating and cooling. It also absorbs rain water to filter it before it goes into the Wood Canyon watershed, and it converts carbon dioxide to oxygen. Additionally, a bioswale was built to help manage storm water runoff.

Interior View of Soka Performing Arts Center

In order to create a space large enough for the green roof with a combination of vegetation and photovoltaic panels arrays as part of the sunshades, the project’s electrical contractor utilized design/build delivery to meet the project’s complex electrical needs. BIM 3D modeling was implemented to successfully coordinate paths and spacing requirements and to improved collaboration with all of the MEP trades. Furthermore, energy modeling simulations were performed, which showed an overall energy cost savings of about 25% over the baseline. To that end, the 140 kW photovoltaic system generates an estimated 15% of the energy needed.

Further energy efficiency solutions included operable windows for climate control in the academic building as well as sensor-controlled lights that turn themselves off in unused rooms. Automatic daylight responsive dimmable lighting controls were installed in all classrooms and both black-box and the Center’s lobbies. A displacement ventilation system was utilized to supply cooler air near the floor, pushing warmer air away from occupants in academic and performance hall spaces.

Soka Performing Arts Center and Academic Building

The Soka Performing Arts Center’s exterior features a glass sunshade structure with 570 panes of laminated safety glass to permit visibility, yet diffuse light and reduce solar heat-gain in the large, all glass lobby. The performance hall also features adjustable floor diffusers below most seats, allowing audience members to adjust airflow. Water-saving features employed include low-flow water fixtures and high-efficiency instantaneous gas water heaters.

Other project team members included Program Manager R.W. Buck and Associates of Rancho Santa Margarita; JAMA of Los Angeles, structural engineer; RBF of Irvine, civil engineer; Syska of Los Angeles, electrical and mechanical engineer; and SWA of Laguna Beach, landscape architect.

“The Soka University project team was focused on sustainability from day one and worked hard to make this goal a reality,” explained McCarthy Executive Vice President Mark Mardock. “McCarthy continues to position ourselves as a leader in green construction, and this project is an outstanding example. With this latest certification, McCarthy now has 10 LEED Gold projects on our resume, with more than 20 in the works. In total, McCarthy has completed or underway more than $7 billion in sustainable projects overall.”

Soka Performing Arts Center and Academic Building

About McCarthy Building Companies

McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. is the nation’s 10th largest domestic general contractor (Engineering News-Record, May 2011) and the largest educational facilities builder in California (California Construction, April 2010). Committed to the construction of high performance buildings, the company has managed construction or built more than 300 K-12 school projects nationwide, totaling more than $2 billion in construction value, and nearly 100 higher education projects on more than 50 campuses.

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Categories: Educational Center, Navisworks, University Building

2 Responses to “Soka Performing Arts Center and Academic Building in Orange County, California by Zimmer Gunsul Frasca”

  1. Wendy Harder says:

    Nice story, but it’s Orange County, California — not Virginia! 🙂

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