The University of California's San Diego campus is no stranger to eye-catching architecture. Beyond its famously fanciful Geisel Library, cradled atop its concrete tree, the 50-year-old campus hosts a what's what of modernist styles.
The Charles David Keeling Apartments, with their shuffled, rectilinear shapes, sparse ornamentation and concrete-and-glass construction, certainly fit in with their modern neighbors. But they also build on the greener aspects of modern aesthetics -- wide use of glass to maximize natural light, emphasis on sun and shade to enhance comfort, employment of materials in unadorned states -- and take them to their logical, green conclusions.
The building shapes and window arrangements maximize natural ventilation, which lowers energy consumption by 38 percent, while a system of panels, walkways and low-E (low thermal emissivity) glass reduce incoming solar radiation. The buildings also include solar cells and a conservation-and-reuse water system that extends from landscaping to low-flow toilets and on-site wastewater recycling. Vegetation on the rooftops cools the apartments while also directing water to retention basins, reducing pollutant levels in stormwater runoff [source: Goodman].
Appropriately, the building is named for an American scientist who numbered among the first to warn the world of the greenhouse effect.