B U I L D I N G _ S T A T I S T I C S
Building Name UCI Natural Sciences Unit II
Location: Irvine, CA
Building Occupant: The University of California Irvine, Physical and Biological Sciences
Size: 146,075 square feet
Number of Stories: Five levels above grade (no levels below grade)
Project Team:

Owner: The University of California Irvine
Architect of Record: Carrier-Johnson Architects
Design Architect: Zimmer-Gunsul-Frasca Architects
General Contractor: Hensel Phelps Construction Co.
Structural Engineer: BFL Owen & Associates
Civil Engineer: Boyle Engineering
Mechanical Engineer: MA Engineers
Electrical Engineer: Konsortum 1
Landscape Architect: IMA+ Design

Dates of Construction: 03/17/05 - 09/01/08
Total Building Cost: $45,512,240
Project Delivery Method:
Modified Design-Build (see construction section)

The building includes a four-story laboratory and classroom wing and a five-story office wing which form the shape of an “L”, with a two-story entrance lobby located between the two. The facility is shared by the Schools of Biological and Physical Sciences, each predominantly occupying two floors of the structure. A small outdoor courtyard is sheltered on two sides by the wings of the building. The fifth floor features a balcony with access to the main stair. The architecture is modern and consistent with existing surrounding buildings and the master plan of the campus.

Major National Codes:
2001 California Building Code (1997 UBC with amendments)
The City of Irvine does not impose any zoning requirements on the UCI campus, which builds according to its own master plan.
Historical Requirements:
None. The University of California Irvine campus and its surroundings are relatively new.
Building Envelope:

The exterior façade is composed of 18” concrete shear walls with interior furring and insulation. Architectural red granite panels are attached at the base of the building. The doors and windows feature dual-pane, low-e glazing for energy conservation. Ceramic tiles are used in some areas as exterior accents. Stainless steel and copper accents are also used on the main stair tower. The roof is constructed of reinforced modified bitumen built up over rigid foam insulation.

A modified design-build scheme was used for this construction. DD-level 'bridging' plans and specifications were prepared, and then were bid on and completed by the design-build team. Construction was completed for the project on September 1, 2008.

Natural Science Unit 2 is connected to the University of California Irvine utility distribution system. The building's electrical distribution system is radial with a service entrance in the electrical room at the southeast corner of the main building. A 2500 KVA, 3Ø, 4W, pad-mounted transformer reduces the campus supply voltage from 12kV to 480/277V. A 4000A main switchboard distributes power to subsequent panel boards throughout the building. Emergency backup power is provided by a 1250 KW, 480/277V diesel generator located in the high energy lab building. The emergency power system feeds life safety and lab critical distribution panels for the building.


The lighting system in the building is generally modern and designed to reduce power consumption. Lobbies and public areas feature recessed compact fluorescent downlights and some cove lighting while laboratories and offices predominantly use recessed 2’ by 4’ linear fluorescent fixtures. Conference rooms on each floor utilize both compact and linear fluorescent sources in a multi-scene control system. The main atrium space includes two decorative metal halide pendants on the second and fourth floors. The building orientation allows daylighting to be a significant source of light in many spaces, further reducing energy use during the day.


Three air handling units located in the mechanical room on the first floor supply conditioned air to the spaces and have a combined 160,000 cfm capacity. Constant air volume and variable air volume terminal units with reheat coils are used within the branch duct system.

Natural Science Unit 2 uses a reinforced concrete pile foundation system. The first floor of the building is slab-on-grade of varying thickness. 10" thick two-way slabs are typical on all upper floors. 20" square concrete columns with 8" thick drop panels are located in the office and laboratory wings while the main lobby uses 20" circular columns.
Fire Protection:

The fire detection and suppression system features a central control center with interface panel. Fire sprinkler flow and tamper switches, elevator status, smoke fire dampers and relays can be monitored and controlled through the interface panel. Visible and audible cues are used to alert occupants in an emergency. The entire fire system is backed up by a dedicated battery system.


Two elevators and three stairwells allow vertical circulation through the main building. The main entry stair is outdoor with access to the lobby at the northwest corner of the building and the terrace on the fifth floor.


The building’s main distribution frame in the first floor data room is connected to the campus utility tunnel system through underground conduit. Vertically stacked data rooms are located on each floor and act as access points for wiring and conduit. Combination voice/data outlets are located throughout the building.  Audiovisual systems are installed in the conference rooms on each floor. A projector is mounted on the ceiling with data input terminals near the south wall of each room. An automatic projection screen is operated by a switch on the south wall.

This page was last updated on 10.13.08 by Grant Kightlinger and is hosted by the AE Department ©2008

Note: While great efforts have been taken to provide accurate and complete information on the pages of CPEP, please be aware that the information contained herewith is considered a work‐in‐progress for this thesis project. Modifications and changes related to the original building designs and construction methodologies for this senior thesis project are solely the interpretation of Grant Kightlinger. Changes and discrepancies in no way imply that the original design contained errors or was flawed. Differing assumptions, code references, requirements, and methodologies have been incorporated into this thesis project; therefore, investigation results may vary from the original design.