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33 Nassau Avenue
2nd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11249

Calle German Gedovius 10411
No. 304
Tijuana, Mexico 22520

info@studiohuerta.com

Center for Postgraduate Studies, Cetys University

Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico
2016





2017 Architizer A+ Awards Winner: Architecture +Sustainability, Jury and Popular Vote

The Center for Postgraduate Studies establishes a new academic and social center at Cetys University's flagship Mexicali campus, embodying the vision of an institution dedicated to shaping a new culture for expanding and sharing knowledge throughout Baja California.

Located in the arid climate of the Sonoran Desert, along the San Andreas fault line, the building stands as a fortified block that protects against earthquakes and high temperatures. The solid mass of the building wraps around the southeast and west sides with a layered exterior shell and built earthen topography insulating against the sun, whereas to the north the structure and landscape open to connect with the central campus quad. The thick exterior walls house the building’s seismic structure and help isolate interior and exterior temperatures, and an expanded aluminum screen offset from the perimeter envelops the building, creating an additional layer that allows for natural air circulation and reduced heat gain.

The building’s interior organization is predicated upon the interaction of two distinct spatial zones, creating a strategic composition of public and private spaces that simultaneously enable passive ventilation. An enclosed, private zone of classrooms, offices, and study areas interlocks with an open, public zone made up of various social spaces, producing a vibrant interplay of transparency and opacity as well as a continuous dialogue of spatial uses. A spiraling of hallways across the building’s three floors allows for both pedestrian and air circulation. The central atrium is not only a major social hub, but also the largest of various thermal centers that culminate in a system of solar chimneys designed to cool the building.

By integrating passive thermal strategies with the building’s interior space, a 50% reduction in energy demand was achieved in comparison to a building of equal size and conventional construction. The Center for Postgraduate Studies marks a new precedent for Cetys University’s future growth, as well as the development of energy-passive building specific to the climate of Baja and Southern California.















Building Layers

(top)

Screen
Expanded aluminum mesh and fiberglass grating for shading and ventilation.

Shell
Double-wall construction with airspace for structural housing and thermal isolation.

Structure
Structural steel with seismic bracing.

Enclosure
Interior partitions, curtain walls, and windows, defining total ventilated volume and connected to solar chimney system.

Ground
Hypar topography, split ground level, and terraced circulation.

(bottom)


Two Spatial Zones

Solid / Private Space: Classrooms, offices, special media rooms, enclosed circulation. Defines areas of air intake via windows or mechanical system.

Void / Public Space: Building entries, circulation, social centers. Spatiothermal connection between interior and exterior. Thermal exhaust via stacked ventilation and solar chimney system. 
 










Status
Completed 2016

Project Team
Gabriel Huerta, Kevin Murray, Angelos Palaskas, Armando Toscano, Jorge Velez

Project Consultants
Structural Engineer Ing. Manuel Rojas Guzman - Ingeneria Integral Estructural  // Mechanical Engineer Ing. Luis Vilchis - Simsa; Grupo Softair // Landscape Design Jorge Almaraz - Green Desert // Facade Consultant Grupo Basica // Acoustics Ing. Roberto Velasco - Soluciones Acusticas // Building Envelope and Waterproofing Jeff Jensen // Shades Persianas Paldi; Karina Oliver // Interior Glass King Window // Metalwork Promotinox

Photography
Roland Halbe

© Studiohuerta 2018