The Donald Bren School of Environmental Sciences and Management

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The Donald Bren School of Environmental Sciences and Management

The Donald Bren School of Environmental Sciences and Management
Photo courtesy of Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership


Lab Interior


Visual Connection


Environmental Science and Management

Situated on the last ocean-front space available on the University of California, Santa Barbara campus, the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management lives up to its role as a leader in the research of environmental issues, the training of research scientists and professionals, and the identification and solving of environmental problems.

Serving as an example of environmental sensitivity, the Bren School holds a platinum LEED™ rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. The $20.6-million facility is the first green building in the UC system and is the first platinum-rated research laboratory in the country under version 1.0 of the LEED™ guidelines.

The 84,672-sf building is organized as a three-story lab structure and four-story office structure around a central courtyard. A two-story portal allows additional air and light into the courtyard. Visual connections are maintained from one side to the other with the courtyard and second level terrace serving as primary gathering places. Vertical circulation areas and an outdoor corridor system also provide a variety of balconies and seating areas for impromptu meetings. The building is intended to organize diverse programs while accommodating specialized departments and enhancing the overall collegial atmosphere of biological and geological sciences.

The Bren School includes faculty and department offices, teaching and research laboratories and support facilities for applied and quantitative ecology, earth systems sciences, environmental engineering, environmental microbiology and toxicology, and environmental policy and resource management.

The ground floor houses 1,200 sf of classrooms and breakout rooms and a 100-seat lecture hall. Featuring panoramic ocean views, the second floor houses department administration offices, support facilities, and a conference room. Labs and some offices are on the third floor, with more offices and another conference room on the fourth floor.

Sustainable features include drought-tolerant landscaping, water-conserving fixtures throughout the building, natural lighting and ventilation in the offices, and recyclable/renewable materials for the countertops and flooring. A roof-integrated photovoltaic system cleanly generates a significant percentage of power on site year-round. The building surpasses new Title 24 requirements for energy efficiency standards by more than 31 percent.

For more information on the above report, please contact the Tradeline Editor

Project Data
  • ZGF Architects LLP - Architect
  • Soltek Pacific - Builder
  • McKay Conant Brook Inc. - Consultant - Audio Visual
  • Lerch Bates & Associates Inc. - Consultant - Elevator
  • CPP, Inc. (CPP, Inc.)  - Consultant - Wind Analysis
  • Penfield & Smith Engineers/Surveyors - Engineer - Civil
  • Flack & Kurtz Consulting Engineers - Engineer - Electrical
  • KPFF Consulting Engineers - Engineer - Structural
  • X-nth - Laboratory Planner
  • Wallace Roberts & Todd LLC - Landscape Architect
  • ISEC Inc. - Supplier - Biosafety Cabinets
  • Bentley Carpets - Supplier - Carpet
  • ISEC Inc. - Supplier - Casework
  • ThyssenKrupp Elevator - Supplier - Elevators
  • Johnson Controls Inc. - Supplier - Energy Management Systems