The College of Education, at California State University, San Bernardino, illustrates the flexibility and beauty of precast concrete. Located in the high desert at the base of the San Bernardino Mountains, this school building matches its environmental context.
The flexibility in the production process of glass-fiber-reinforced concrete (GFRC) panels allowed for an expressive exterior, especially on the long, grandly curved entrance wall, which the smoothly textured, integrally colored GFRC panels give an elegant, high-quality finish. One of the finishes for the GFRC panels, primarily used on the classroom block, involved a vertical fluting pattern composed of one-half-inch-wide ribs. The different textures achieved with the GFRC help give scale to the project and reinforce the building’s narrative and function.
GFRC panels ensure low maintenance and provide several sustainable features. The panels are lightweight, manufactured locally, and made predominately from local and recycled materials. Solar strategies include fin-protected openings, fritted glass, overhangs, and use of day lighting. Desert landscaping allows a natural site aquifer to cover all irrigation needs.
The building was honored as a winner in the University category of the 2010 Design Awards competition sponsored by the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute.