Sliding Shades and Natural Ventilation Help This San Diego Office Aim for LEED Platinum

Designed by architecture firm BNIM, the roughly 53,000-square-foot office also eschewed surface parking in favor of pedestrian spaces.
San Diego Makers Quarter Block D

At Block D in San Diego, BNIM installed exterior shading mechanisms and photovoltaic canopies that articulate the interior’s design language. The slid- ing surfaces and planes provide long-term savings in utility costs, and cultivate comfort and well- being for office workers. Courtesy BASIC


With Makers Quarter Block D, a roughly 53,000-square-foot, six-story office hub located in downtown San Diego’s evolving East Village tech corridor, the architects at BNIM bet on sustainable design. Once certified, this landmark project will be the first LEED Platinum and net-zero-energy commercial building in downtown San Diego, proving that sustainable construction can be both elegant and cost-effective.

Matthew Porreca, principal at the firm’s San Diego office, attributes the prospect of receiving the coveted title to BNIM’s strategy that “reflects a deep commitment to humanity as the origin of inspiration and design innovation.” Utilizing this strategy, the architects erected a structure that is environmentally responsive, elastic in space making, and true to the makerspace identity of the neighborhood.

San Diego Makers Quarter Block D

Courtesy Nick Merrick © Hall+Merrick 2018

An offset core anchors Block D’s floor plates, which float over a partial block, creating a petite underbelly that’s inviting to the public. (Additionally, the architects eschewed a parking area, giving the space over to pedestrian use instead.) An aesthetically modest yet technically advanced facade offers a sense of transparency and harmony with its surroundings, while also tempering solar heat gain and reducing glare in workspaces. A series of sliding screens wrap the exterior in a rhythmic staccato; in places, these screens are off- set to define a shared outer corridor for conversation between tenants. Inside, floor-to-ceiling fenestration and a net- work of garage doors on each level pro- vide programmatic flexibility and natural ventilation. And the exposed concrete frame works in tandem with those mechanisms to purge thermal mass each night for passive cooling.

Seen as a living ecosystem, Block D advances sustainable workplace design by being hyperconscious of both climatic concerns and its occupants’ health and wellness.

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Categories: Architecture