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News Contact:
Cathy Summa-Wolfe
, Executive Director
Communications, Community Relations, and Advancement

College of Marin’s Largest New Building Wins Design Honors

KENTFIELD, CA—September 25, 2013—The student labs in the new College of Marin Science, Mathematics, Nursing and Central Plant Complex have earned top design honors from the American School & University, a national trade publication that showcased educational interiors in its August 2013 issue.
The especially noteworthy 25,000-square feet of lab space is located in the three-story, 77,000 square foot complex designed by ED2 International Architects/Planners, a San Francisco-based firm.
“This was an ambitious project that resulted in a university level facility for our STEM and Nursing programs,” said David Wain Coon, Superintendent/President of College of Marin. “The designers worked closely to understand the trustees’ vision and the needs of the faculty, staff, and students who would use the facility.”
The building, which opened earlier this year, serves multiple disciplines while incorporating the highest possible environmentally sustainable practices. The building earned a LEED-certified Gold rating for its use of natural lighting, recycled and locally sourced materials and energy conscious systems. To maximize use of the surrounding natural environment, the building features indoor and outdoor classrooms, a courtyard made of tiles representing the periodic table, an orbital court, and stunning views of Mt. Tamalpais from energy efficient rooftop garden areas.
“Whenever I walk by I see a lot of vibrant student-faculty interaction,” said Laura McCarty, director of Modernization. “Designers incorporated motifs of teaching elements into the architecture itself, in the lab designs and in the selection of furnishings.”
The Orbital Court relates to the Astronomy program and Geology lab benches incorporate granite and stone. The periodic table of elements courtyard is designed to connect to the exterior of the Chemistry lab and the Biology lab is adorned with cell structures in the concrete outside.
“Not too many science buildings use geothermal and solar power, have green roofs and 90 percent natural lighting in the building,” said Peter W.T. Wong, Senior Principal for Planning and Design at ED2. “It’s good to have your fellow professionals recognize your work as being cutting edge and having relevance in terms of where technology is going. If you had a checklist of what you’d like to see in a 21st Century building, it would all be there.”
The labs have appropriate ventilation and improved safety systems as well as moveable cabinetry, storage and furnishings and modular mechanical systems. Partitions accommodate different class sizes. The flooring, ceiling and building’s exterior are made of recycled materials. In addition to housing Science, Math, and Nursing programs and the College's internal IT department, a new Central Plant accommodates electrical and mechanical equipment for the campus.
About five years in the making, the project grew out of ongoing collaborative discussions with instructors, trustees, neighbors and designers.  
“What makes College of Marin so unique is this concept of participatory governance,” Wong said. “They don’t want designers and architects designing in a vacuum, but to have interactions with end-users and be inclusive in our decision making process.”

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COM Science, Math, Nursing Building
Photos: Danny Young, ED2 International Architects / Planners