California Institute of Technology Earl M. Jorgensen Laboratory Renovation

Pasadena, CA, USA

Designed by Quincy Jones in 1971, the original Earl M. Jorgensen Laboratory was a three story, concrete structure that would need significant renovation if it was to become the new home of the California Institute of Technology.

Buro Happold Engineering was recruited to oversee MEP engineering, sustainability, LEED consulting and energy modelling.


Together with John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects, we were tasked with transforming the old building into a cutting edge, sustainable facility for energy and science advancement.

The client was seeking to achieve a LEED Platinum certification once the remodeling of the building was complete. This presented a number of difficulties due to the condition of the existing structure.

To achieve LEED Platinum certification our engineers incorporated a variety of high performance, energy efficient solutions. Image: Fotoworks


Primary renovations involved removing oversized sunshades, installing high performance double glazing and introducing a new sky-lit atrium. We also had to transform office space into wet and dry research laboratories. BuroHappold’’s restoration resulted in the improved availability of natural light in the building with increased views to the outside, as well as state of the art energy efficient research.

The new building achieved LEED Platinum certification and is a demonstration of what can be achieved when presented with challenging conditions in an existing building. The end result was a neutral dual duct HVAC system for all laboratories and offices which, compared to the ASHRAE 90.1 2007 baseline, is projected to reduce energy consumption by a total of 37% and energy cost by 26%.


The Institute was fully involved and interested in the scientific justifications behind Buro Happold’s design decisions, and shared ideas on new technologies to consider. They also adapted their existing revolving energy fund, which uses projected savings in energy to provide loans for energy efficiency upgrades. In this case they funded the difference between a code minimum building and implemented strategies to save energy.

This new, state of the art facility truly embodies the mission of its occupants and provides an inspiring place to conduct research that will shape a more sustainable future.

Talk to us

Our policies and terms outline the information we collect about you, and how we process your personal information, please read them to be fully informed. We also use cookies on our website to provide you with a better experience. By continuing to use this site, without changing your settings, you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.

Continue Close