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Love Where You Learn

By Rachel Henry

Students working together in one of the Baker Center’s many inviting study areas.

Cal Poly’s most recently-completed building is also its most inviting. That’s the opinion of U.C. Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment, which this summer awarded its 2017 Livable Buildings Award to the Warren J. Baker Center for Science and Mathematics. The award recognizes buildings that demonstrate exceptional performance in occupant satisfaction, resource efficiency and overall design — and is the only building industry honor that includes feedback from occupants in its selection criteria.

The 192,000 square-foot Baker Center, completed in 2013 and named after former President Warren J. Baker, provides innovative instructional spaces and leading-edge research facilities and is a social hub for students across the university, as envisioned by Dean Emeritus Phil Bailey, who led the project.

“So many faculty, staff, students and administrators contributed to making the Baker Center a welcoming space for the entire university community,” said Dean Wendt, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics. “This award is a wonderful testament to their hard work and dedication.”

Cal Poly alumnus Ted Hyman (Architecture, ’79) was principal architect on the project for the team from ZGF Architects LLP. “As an architect, there is nothing more rewarding than to learn that those that ultimately inhabit a space after it is built continue to experience it in as supportive and comfortable an environment as it had been envisioned,” he said.

The award jury, which is composed of professionals in the building industry, noted the high marks that occupants gave the Baker Center on environmental factors such as acoustic quality and thermal comfort. “It’s a beautiful building, and people really like being in this space,” one juror said.

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