ESTUARY Wins Top Honor in Architecture at Zero Competition

Date Posted: 11.10.2015

Mithun’s net-zero energy student housing design for the UC San Francisco Mission Bay campus has received the 2015 Architecture at Zero Honor Award. The design concept, ESTUARY, comprises three residential structures enveloping a central terraced courtyard that connects residents as well as energy and water systems below. The community includes housing for 750 students in a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments, outdoor café, childcare center, living machine, rooftop agriculture, and a shared central courtyard.

ESTUARY was hailed by the competition jury for its sensitive attention to placemaking and human experience. The jury also noted the excellent synergy between engineering and architecture to achieve performance goals. The design was developed by Mithun’s multidisciplinary team in Seattle and San Francisco, in collaboration with engineers at PAE.

The porous site plan allows entry and access to major campus greenway and transit connections, and invites the larger community to circulate through the courtyard spaces. Each faceted residential tower is arranged to offset individual unit views and optimize daylight harvesting and natural cooling, with residential units connected through internal atrium ventilation stack spaces.

Now in its fifth year, the Architecture at Zero competition seeks creative and feasible approaches to zero net energy (ZNE) building. By encouraging innovative design solutions to site-specific challenges, the competition aims to broaden thinking about the technical and aesthetic possibilities of ZNE projects. The 2015 competition site is part of the University of California, San Francisco’s Mission Bay Campus that will be developed with mixed-use residential buildings. The program is hosted by AIA California Council and Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

Read more about ESTUARY’s design concept and human experience.