Mesa Commons’ sustainable elements were driven by a complex program and how this can push sustainable barriers on campus. The 73,000 square foot project serves as a student hub and gateway to the campus, housing two cafeterias, campus bookstore, convenience store, coffee café, culinary arts management labs, faculty and student lounge spaces, conference rooms, as well as campus stockroom, mail and reprographics services. Sustainability was a priority for the SDCCD and Mesa Commons is the first building on campus to house six, below ground cisterns that provide 100% of the site’s irrigation needs through reclaimed refrigeration condensate water and collected rain water.
An organic roof garden is also a first for the campus. Used by the Culinary Arts Management department this garden is also irrigated with reclaimed water through a roof mounted day tank. The garden will provide some of the produce used in the building’s student run café in support of sustainable farm to table dining concepts.
The building parti is based on rational zoning of the program, placing all “back-of-house” uses adjacent to a large loading area, and all of the public spaces along the new central campus quad. This move, coupled with an open structural system, results in clear circulation paths for goods and services, and is highly flexible for future change. Solar chimneys rise above the roof line at vertical circulation points and vertically break up the building’s massing while providing enhanced natural ventilation. Additionally, over 90% of the glazing was focused towards the north side of the building to limit solar heat gain while maximizing daylight and view.