University of California, Los Angeles


La Kretz Hall


Campus infrastructure is often considered an unwanted footprint and encumbrance – a necessary evil to situate as remotely as possible, or otherwise hidden away, occupying as little precious space as possible. La Kretz Hall at UCLA proves a valuable and exhilarating exception.

Set on the dense urban campus atop an existing 5 million-gallon chilled-water tank, SmithGroupJJR designed and built this three-story academic facility to house a 350-seat auditorium, classroom and offices for the school's Institute of the Environment. The hall occupies a critical pedestrian node in the court of sciences, deftly combining academic and infrastructure functions on an undersized lot.

With no internal lobbies or corridors – and with natural ventilation and lighting used wherever possible – the energy-efficient hall is UCLA's first LEED-rated building, incorporating forward-thinking green-building techniques such as rooftop BIPV, carbon-dioxide sensors to control fans, solar shades, and shower facilities for bicycle commuters. These features are all integrated within a facility that is decidedly contemporary yet responsive to the classic UCLA milieu.