Department of Global Ecology

Carnegie Institution of Washington Global Ecology Center
February 22, 2015 – 11:19 am

Image 1 Global Ecology Center | Dangermond Keane Architecture

Photo credit: Peter Aaron / Esto Photographics


  • Location: Stanford, CA
  • Building type(s): Higher education, Laboratory, Campus
  • New construction
  • 10, 900 ft2 (1, 010 m2)
  • Project scope: 2-story building
  • Suburban setting

Global Ecology Research Center at Stanford University is an extremely low-energy laboratory and office building for the Carnegie Institution of Washington. The mission of the new Department of Global Ecology is to conduct basic research on the interactions between the earth's ecosystems, land, atmosphere, and oceans.

This project unified several buildings and activated spaces on a site that the Carnegie Institution has occupied since 1928, improving contact and circulation between two departments and creating an outdoor collaboration space.

This project was chosen as an AIA Committee on the Environment Top Ten Green Project for 2007. It was submitted by EHDD Architecture, in San Francisco, California. Additional project team members are listed on the "Process" screen.

Environmental Aspects

From the Global Ecology researchers' perspective, the most pressing environmental issues are global climate change, biodiversity, and water issues. The client encouraged the design team to reduce carbon impacts and address biodiversity and water issues while providing laboratory and research spaces that meet the highest standards of comfort and performance. This focus resulted in a 72% reduction in carbon emissions associated with building operation and a 50% reduction in embodied carbon for building materials.

Proper orientation, exceptional daylighting, sunshading, and natural ventilation set the stage for innovative mechanical systems. A "night sky" radiant cooling system demonstrates the same principles of radiant heat loss to deep space in which the researchers are investigating. An evaporative katabatic (downdraft) cooling tower serves as an iconic focal point, while tempering an indoor/outdoor lobby and collaboration space.

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