Tata Hall for the Sciences at University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, Calif.

Photo: Bill Timmerman

CO Architects designed Tata Hall for the Sciences with a series of aluminum fins at UC San Diego. The aluminum fins on the exterior coordinate with nearby mid-century modern campus architecture, which has heavy concrete fins. CO Architects recreated the fins with a lightweight filigree of layered aluminum fins, glass and concrete.

Set between cantilevered concrete slab edges, the fins are made from aluminum grating panels, simply detailed with a kit of parts anchored directly to a concrete structure.

Paired with insulated glass panels that utilize a polycarbonate honeycomb interlayer, the aluminum and glass shading system creates a dynamic facade that varies in transparency depending on the viewing angle. The design balances views and shading to distribute even daylight deep into interior space. Additionally, to control solar heat gain, CO Architects positioned the building to minimize its east and west facades.

The 130,000-square-foot, seven-story interdisciplinary academic building combines research and teaching space from two different departments: biology and chemistry.

To complete the project, American Sheet Metal Inc. fabricated and installed 653 fins with ASTM B221 6063-T6 aluminum alloy. Each fin consists of eight vertically oriented aluminum bearing bars spaced 1 3/16 inches apart with dovetail welded crossbars spaced 8 inches oncenter. A typical fin measures 9 11/16 inches wide by 2 inches deep in varying heights, 13 feet being the most common.

To prevent pitting in the harsh marine environment, the fins are finished with PPG Industries Inc.’s Duranar Sunstorm fluoropolymer coating. Industrial Metal Supply Co. supplied the aluminum.