Lewis Hall was designed to accommodate faculty and staff offices, classrooms and laboratories for the Environmental Studies Department and Redlands Institute. It was designed to complete the existing Stauffer Complex for the Sciences.
The existing Stauffer Complex formed a north-facing courtyard to take advantage of views of the local San Bernardino mountains. To complete the Complex, allow for future expansion and preserve views, Lewis Hall was designed as an earth-sheltered (semi-subterranean) building at the center of what was previously an open lawn. Appleton Hall, also design by M&AA, completes the eastern perimeter of the complex with Lewis Hall anchoring the center.
The “roof” of the building is covered with local rock dust and native plants characteristic of the Redlands environment, while the berms which surround the building are planted with a no-maintenance, low water consuming fescue grass to blend into the surrounding grassed open spaces. The ground plane at the southern entrance to the building slopes down forming an amphitheater for outdoor classes, which announces the building’s entrance.
The interior of Lewis Hall is defined by a central courtyard onto which all classrooms and half of the faculty offices orient. Daylight into all interior spaces is maximized through the use of extensive glazing and light shelves; awnings and a space frame over the central courtyard provide shading from the hot spring, summer and fall sun. Natural ventilation is provided to all spaces through the use of operable windows.
The new design language introduced by Lewis Hall to the Campus is in keeping with the Environmental Studies Department’s mission and the goal for the building: to make it a model of sustainable architecture. The earth-sheltered design not only preserved open space and views, but also significantly reduced the energy consumption of the building. The building consumes approximately 45% less energy than a comparable conventional facility. The building’s sustainable design features allowed it to attain a Silver Rating under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Green Building Rating System.