Category Archives: Featured

For the front page

The Stairwell

Luke was kind enough to send us the “1,000 decisions” text from the stairwell, below.


follow the examples set by the main quad
design a building that adapts to changing needs
build a building that will be vital for the next 100 years
orient the buildings east to west so light reaches all the way through the building build arcades to help the building stay cooler in summer
install operable windows to reduce artificial climate control
harvest rainwater from the roof and quad
create activity areas that encourage people to meet outdoors
cultivate native and drought-tolerant plants
plant a lawn that requires minimal water
transplant coastal oaks instead of purchasing and transporting trees
transplant local olive trees
use recycled stone for seat walls
use recycled stone for bicycle parking
reuse lights from existing site
reuse existing benches
use light-tinted pavers that reflect heat rather than absorb it
use permeable pavers at tree locations to harvest rainfall and reduce irrigation
use pavers made with recycled content
use permeable crushed-stone paving to capture rainwater runoff naturally
use locally manufactured pavers to minimize transport and support local business reduce light pollution by pointing no lights at the night sky
use crushed-stone paving
build terraces at second and third levels for easy access to desirable outdoor rooms create shade with trellised local plants
cultivate plants at terraces for shade and cooling
extend balconies on the south face to create more desirable outdoor spaces
build a large roof overhang to create shade and reduce cooling needs
extend the windows to ceiling height to take full advantage of available light recess the windows to increase shade
install high-performance, low-energy glazing
install additional insulation for year-round energy efficiency
install a reflective white roof to reduce heat
install sun shades at windows to reduce heat and increase light harvesting
calibrate sunshades precisely
install interior light shelves at south facing windows
install operable windows
install windows that automatically respond to weather conditions by venting install transfer ducts throughout the building for natural ventilation
install daylighting transoms throughout building to increase natural light maximize transparency in the atria to harvest light and open up the space maximize views
locate labs at the lowest level to improve natural ventilation
install lockers to make running and biking more convenient
install showers
install bike parking

locate the building near public transportation
incorporate four atria in the building to optimize light harvesting and natural ventilation create vertical centers to harvest light
space atria no more than 60-80 feet apart for natural ventilation
shape atria apertures to increase daylight harvesting
use frit in skylight glass to reduce glare
extend atria all the way to lab foundation to bring natural light to the bottom floor install horizontal fire shutter to connect atria to lab foundation
locate common areas near atria to encourage collaboration
increase interior glazing around atria to facilitate visual communication
install actuated louvers in skylights for ventilation
install actuated windows in skylight for additional ventilation
eliminate mechanically assisted smoke evacuation
install weather station on roof so building can read and respond to changing conditions install four types of photovoltaics on roof to harvest energy and support research maximize recycled content in steel structure and decking
use local exterior precast panels to minimize transport and support local business
use fly ash in the concrete to reduce carbon dioxide emissions
use locally manufactured clay roof tiles
use salvaged redwood for exterior trellises
use sustainably-managed forest products for arcade ceiling
use rapidly renewable bamboo handrails at interior
use rapidly renewable materials for office furniture
use rapidly renewable materials for casework
use paint with no volatile organic compounds throughout interior
use carpet tiles with recycled content and no volatile organic compounds
use recycled content in ceiling systems
use vinyl-free rubber base at interior
reduce air-handling units at roof
install high efficiency air-handling units
reduce fan velocity at air-handler units
use high efficiency exhaust fans
reduce exhaust fan speed
install radiant-heat floor systems
install daylight sensors
install dimming controls for lighting
install occupancy sensors that turn lights on and off automatically
install carbon dioxide sensors to guage whether to cool building or provide ventilation install advanced measurement in five offices to measure building performance
use active chilled-beam technology for super-efficient heating and cooling
use natural ventilation
install ceiling fans
measure lighting power consumption floor by floor
meet fundamental building systems commissioning requirements
require additional building systems commissioning
select an environmentally responsible refrigerant

expose concrete floors for increase to minimize artificial heating and cooling use night flushing to cool building
install waterless urinals where possible
install dual flush toilets

install dual plumbing to use grey water when possible
install water reclamation system
accommodate and encourage individual, everyday recycling
set energy consumption goals for the entire quad and monitor them
establish the highest performance criteria and be responsible to them
employ adaptive comfort models for systems: calculate multiple building systems: loads and comfort metrics of what constitutes comfort in this building

employ life-cycle cost analyses in decision making
identify peoples’ disciplines to show how work is centered on projects, not departments use acoustical tiles in atria as murals that show the collaborative mission of Y2E2 install the most energy-efficient digital displays
establish a unified vision for building program and performance
engage users and the broader community to inform building design
program the building to encourage and support cross-disciplinary collaboration deliberately locate offices
optimize office size
create a lab foundation to bring natural daylight and ventilation into basement
make the building a teaching tool
support the building’s role as a hub for environmental teaching and research on campus design the building for the people who will use it
integrate the building and the campus to combine the best of the past and the future locate the building deliberately
decide if building belongs in the new quad
determine the building’s optimal size
determine how many people the building should accommodate and optimize occupancy determine the building’s occupants
determine the benefits of being located in the building
be sure to include a cafe
get advice from all the stakeholders
make the building’s design an open discussion
keep everybody informed
have lots of town hall meetings
determine the number of grad students per faculty
determine the number of faculty in the building
determine the size of each research program
determine how many visitors the building can accommodate
build a mezzanine to house office occupants more comfortably
bring natural daylight, ventilation and views into the basement
make people feel connected and part of a community
arrange offices according to focal area, not department


1 Comment

Filed under Featured

Norms for group discussions

In the spirit of creating an optimal environment for discourse, thought, and creativity, we will:

  • Actively engage (listen to what’s been said; build on what’s been said; avoid distractions; don’t check email, social media during class)
  • Create a space where people feel comfortable speaking, by assuming that people mean the best (don’t get defensive or attack)
  • Try to give specific examples to support assertions
  • Use open questioning, but be clear about questions’ intent
  • Step up, Step back

Leave a comment

Filed under Featured

Technology First?

Today in class we talked about definitions of technology.  Some thoughts that came up in class:

  • Electronic
  • Digital
  • Tool
  • Hardware / Software
  • Augment human capacity
  • Idea (or is it?)
  • Virtual reality
  • snuggies / e-textiles

Some definitions of technology:

Which is first? Technology, or the need that it meets?  See Don Norman’s thoughts in his article on Technology First, Needs Last.

What do YOU think is a useful definition of technology?  How is a definition useful in informing our designs?


Leave a comment

Filed under Featured

Cool article about designing learning spaces

Check out this article from Edutopia, looking at the design of classrooms to support project-based learning.

Leave a comment

Filed under Featured

Connecting Thought and Environment

A favorite quote from Keith Basso’s (1997) Wisdom Sits in Places: “Incorporating places and their meanings into a compact model of mental and social development, [one theory of wisdom] proposes that the most estimable qualities of human minds – keen and unhurried reasoning, resistance to fear and anxiety, and suppression of emotions born of hostility and pride – come into being through extended reflections on symbolic dimensions of the physical environment.” (pg. 85)

Leave a comment

Filed under Featured


Welcome to the online home of Designing Learning Spaces.  Posts on this blog are primarily authored by students in the course, who use this venue to create a record of critical experiences, spaces, and literature from our class.

Leave a comment

Filed under Featured