When San Joaquin County officials wanted a new administration building that would consolidate 16 agencies scattered around Stockton, California, they sought a design that stressed flexibility and convenience, helped revitalize an historic downtown, reflected regional context, and demonstrated open, accessible government.
As winner of a national design competition, Fentress Architects' design for the new San Joaquin County Administration Building exceeded those wishes, in a building completed Aug. 7, 2009 - three weeks ahead of schedule and more than $132,000 under the $92.8-million budget.
Fentress was design architect and architect-of-record on the design-build team led by Hensel Phelps Construction Co. For design inspiration, Fentress looked to Stockton's heritage in terms of agricultural bounty, status as the state's first inland port, and role as a gateway to Yosemite National Park.
The result is a six-story, 23,226-sq m building that follows the rhythm of downtown, where old buildings on narrow lots establish civic scale and pattern. The project design breaks up the impact of the building's lengthy façades, while tying the structure together through massing, materials and clean lines.
The team devised a sophisticated structural system to support Fentress' forward-thinking entry design, an angular green glass form that rises five stories to enclose the county commissioners' chamber. This reveals the workings of government, allows unparalleled views of downtown, and references both the ships that ply the inland waterway and the rock formations that define Yosemite.The interior layout allows for growth, flexibility and convenience, with high-traffiic agencies sited in a centralized location.
The project achieved LEED Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council through strategies including the selection of sustainable materials, including FSC-Certified wood throughout; an emphasis on energy conservation, including a white roof to reduce heat gain and high-performance Low-E glass, and the recycling of 96 percent of on-site construction waste.