Meyer & Allen Associates

SCAQMD Headquarters

Location:Diamond Bar, CA
Size:370,000 sq. ft.
Awards: 1991 - SCE Design for Excellence Award

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Headquarters is comprised of three main elements:

  • Conference Center is a 60,000 sq. ft. facility, providing a combination meeting and education center.  It includes a 300-seat District Board auditorium, a 50-seat hearing room, a 100-seat training room, several flexible conference rooms, a 300-seat cafeteria and kitchen and the main public lobbies.  The conference center provides complete audio/visual facilities, along with a teleconferencing room.
  • Laboratory Building is a two-story, 60,000 sq. ft. facility.  The lower level houses the laboratory shops, shipping and receiving.  Complete machine shops, fabrication shops and electronic shops are provided.  The laboratory has an adjacent gallery which allows visitors to be escorted through the facility and view the laboratory without entering and disturbing laboratory activities.
  • Office Building is a 250,000 sq. ft. facility and comprised of a five-story and a three-story tower over a common lower level.  The lower level houses the computer facility, printing shops, graphics facilities, showers and lockers and some administrative office functions.  The upper floors are all devoted to administration, planning, engineering and technical services.


The Headquarters is located on a 15-acre site, providing parking for 1,000 cars.  The site also provides facilities for research activities such as an operating fuel cell.  Fueling facilities for the agency’s fleet of alternative fuel vehicles is also provided, as well as a site for a small child care center.

The building exterior is primarily precast concrete (off-white), with metal panels at the fifth floor and at a portion of the conference center.  A large skylight sits atop the main lobby.  The main laboratory is lit by large monitor skylights that face north.  Light shelves are employed at the south facing office windows to improve daylighting and shading.  Computer models were developed by Southern California Edison (SCE) to help optimize the building daylighting performance.

This facility was designed not only to meet the needs of the SCAQMD staff, but also to be as environmentally sensitive as possible; energy conservation received a high priority and includes:

  • Use of day lighting, combined with high performance glass and light shelves;
  • Automated lighting controls, with motion sensors;
  • Energy management system and high-efficiency chillers;
  • Reflective roofing material.


Environmental protection was taken into consideration with the implementation of:

  • Refrigerant used in the chillers which do not deplete the ozone layer;
  • A Methanol-fueled standby generator;
  • A fuel cell (virtually emission-free) to generate electricity for building operations;
  • Alternative vehicle fuels such as compressed natural gas, liquid petroleum gas, methanol and electricity;
  • Natural finishes to reduce emissions from architectural coatings;
  • Materials pre-finished in controlled environments to reduce emissions;
  • Drought-tolerant landscaping utilizing recycled water.


While this building preceded the development of USGBC’s LEED rating system, the SCAQMD Headquarters received a design award from SCE for its innovation in energy conservation and sustainable design.