When California Institute of Technology (Caltech) officials decided to renovate an elegant Spanish Colonial Revival laboratory building and make it into a center for climate-change research, they were determined to create a facility that reflected the ideals of its occupants. For the Linde Center for Global Environmental Science, they decided to go beyond LEED Gold certification, the campus standard for new construction. They set their sights on Platinum, a level of certification that the designers maintain is unprecedented for the rehabilitation of a historic laboratory building.
The $25 million project, completed in January 2012, preserves the character and fundamental organization of the 45,000-square-foot former home of the university's astronomers and astrophysicists, with its two stories of public spaces and faculty offices above three levels of below-grade laboratories. The 1932 structure designed by Mayers, Murray & Phillip, a successor firm to Goodhue Associates (the architect responsible for many of the buildings on Caltech's predominantly Mission-style Pasadena campus), now serves as a model of energy efficiency.