The University of California, Berkeley’s new Maximo Martinez Commons combines residence hall rooms and apartments. The architects increased accessibility to natural air and light by designing a sophisticated alternate floor circulation system, stacking double-height spaces, and using corner apartments with multiple orientations.
Maintaining uniform light levels within the complex geometry of the entry lobby illustrates the degree to which system designs were customized. The tiered lobby space receives natural light from glazing on every side as well as a skylight. Working with the lighting designer’s calculations, our electrical engineers specified a control system that allows for the independent control of each light fixture to brighten or dim based on the amount of available natural light.
The mechanical and plumbing teams also designed systems with energy savings in mind. Monitoring the building over its first six months of operation indicated that an onsite solar hot water system provides 65 percent of the building’s hot water demand. Efficient condensing boilers heat wall radiators and radiant floors in public areas, and high-efficiency plumbing fixtures further contribute to the building’s sustainability.