Although designed to replicate the dirigible hangars of the past, the modern, cutting-edge innovations incorporated into ARTIC make it a visually spectacular, functional, and efficient facility.
The roof was constructed using more than 18,580 square meters (200,000 square feet) of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), a fluorine-based plastic material with high resistance to corrosion and extreme temperatures, adding to the efficiency of the building. Alonso says it is the largest application of ETFE in the United States.
“It’s basically fabricated into a big air pillow, with the exterior side designed to reflect the sun, while the interior side is clear,” Sims says. “You can get a 20-degree temperature difference between one side and the other, creating a heat barrier for the building that results in less energy required to cool the interior.”
The designers made further use of the ETFE panels by installing a network of 1,400 colorful LED lights. “The lights are individually monitored so that they can be made into any color and any pattern,” Sims says. “At night it gives quite a spectacular glow.”
Sims says the building’s use of moving air and radiant heating also contributes to its efficient use of energy. A system of diffusers and air vents near the level where people are moving, along with canopies to capture the air, will help keep temperatures comfortable.
ARTIC is expected to receive LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum designation from the U.S. Green Building Council. Although a decision is still a year away, Tanzmann says the pieces are in place for the Platinum designation if the building operates as expected.
“In an age where a lot of buildings are constructed for a short life, ARTIC has been designed as a 100-year structure,” she says. “This is truly a high-performing building. All of its elements are very highly integrated with one another.”
“This will become a landmark structure in California,” Alonso adds. “My kids are tired of hearing me talk about it, but I believe ARTIC will be a building that is talked about for a long time to come.”