Posted on:

Science User Support Building

RNL Design

Shared By

Morgan Day, Hanley Wood

Project Name

Science User Support Building

Project Status

Concept Proposal


70,000 sq. feet


Stanford Linear Accelerator Laboratory


  • Dominic Weilminster

View all (3) images

Project Description


This design for the Science User Support Building - a non-lab facility housing research scientists - at Stanford’s Linear Accelerator Laboratory was the result of an intensive 4-week competition. Though unsuccessful, it was an opportunity to explore possibilities at the leading-edge of high performance building design. The project featured a building performance strategy focused on creating a super-insulated, dynamic envelope that responded to daylight and active building management inputs. Building on RNL’s experience in providing building performance leadership at the National Renewable Energy Labs, a similar attitude of ‘beyond net zero’ drove the performance of the SUSB.

Architecturally, the form of the office building is a reflection of the hallmark function of the SLAC lab - the linear particle accelerator. A cantilevered Vierendeel truss system supports a tube-like building skin surrounding open office spaces. This tube geometry allows for a narrow proportion for ideal daylighting and the truss superstructure allows the bulk of the building to float over a more transparent visitor center function on the ground floor while creating a seismically stable form. The cantilever likewise transitions with the site up nearly a full story to create a PV-shaded plaza fronted by a cafe and conference center, lending a sense of human scale to a campus that presently reflects a sparse, functional environment. Ultimately, our team was not selected to carry out this project. While ambitious in our goals, the ultimate direction for this project went in a much more conservative direction. Nevertheless, it was a valuable exploration in pushing building performance and harmonizing functional systems with form.
Add a Project
Publish Your Projects Show off and upload images, text, and video of your work. We pick the very best for our project newsletters. Upload

Join the Discussion

Please read our Content Guidelines before posting

Close X