California State University, Channel Islands Sierra Hall

Owner California State University, Channel Islands
Lead Designer CO Architects
Contractor Sundt Construction
Civil Engineer Penfield & Smith
Structural Engineer KPFF Consulting Engineers
Landscape Design Melendrez Landscape Architecture

The design and construction team on this $32-million, certified LEED Gold project faced a complex challenge of constructing a modern, state-of-the-art educational building that is also architecturally compatible with historic campus structures.

To accomplish this, the team carefully studied the Spanish Mission-style architecture of the school’s existing structures. They noted that these buildings were built without control or drift joints in the plaster system. To recreate this look while preventing cracking to the plaster exterior due to a lack of joints, the team reinforced the 66,500-sq-ft building, added fiber mesh to the plaster mix and extended the cure time for the brown coat.

A waterproof membrane was added beneath the plaster in addition to the standard lath paper to eliminate water from entering the building through cracks in the plaster.

Plaster application also caused the team to get creative with construction sequencing. Typically, the roof would be completed before interior finishes begin. But because the plaster now needed more time to cure, the roof membrane was installed first; then a temporary protection roof was layered over it. This gave the plaster enough time to cure and allowed interior work to begin without delaying the project.

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