The proposed design for Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s 96,000 sf Administration Building builds on JPL’s legacy as a creative icon, reaffirming the role set by the existing AB as a defining marker within the campus. It also reflects a belief that signature architecture must fundamentally capture the spirit of the institution it represents.


Taking the collaborative mode of JPL’s culture as a starting point, the design seeks to reinforce relationships between the administrative core and its campus context, its form and its use. The organization of the traditional office building was reconceived and reconfigured, favoring connection and transparency over a rigid standardized form, allowing the project’s internal life to reflect and inform a more dynamic spatial arrangement. The design balances the necessary privacy of individual office suites with open hallways and sightlines that cut across the building floor plates and create a sense of openness and possibility. Meeting spaces are situated along primary circulation routes to encourage interaction and highlight the collaborative activity happening within the building.


The design looks out to the creative life of the campus unfolding around it and embraces its setting through an integrative landscape design approach. An open plaza connects the AB to a pedestrian mall, reinforcing the existing plaza’s current use as a “village square” at the gateway to the campus. Events and large gatherings are easily accommodated in the design, allowing circulation on the mall to remain unencumbered. Shaded stepped seating rising along the proposed building’s eastern edge offers opportunities for quiet conversation while facilitating connection to adjacent facilities.


The proposed design envisions the AB as unifying setting that brings together the engineers, scientists, and administrators representing the varied directorates and missions distributed across the campus. The building’s internal structure catalyzes new relationships, maximizing both privacy and collaboration between floors.  The design approach facilitates openness and connection resulting in a dramatic image that is the very expression of its use.  As a LEED Silver project, the design reflects a commitment to environmental stewardship, offering its inhabitants flexible and airy spaces that maximize comfort and productivity within an energy efficient platform. Daylight is drawn deep into the building’s core while the thermally efficient exterior envelope minimizes glare and heat loading through carefully positioned apertures that balance transparency with passive cooling.

LOCATION / Pasadena, California
TYPE / LEED Silver Administration Complex with Conference Center, Multipurpose Theater, and Exhibition Areas
SIZE / 96,000 sf
STATUS / Design Completed 2008
ROLE / Design Architect