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04/03/2012 07:00:00

Linde + Robinson Lab Recognized by Los Angeles Conservancy

One of Caltech's oldest buildings, the Linde + Robinson Laboratory for Global Environmental Science, is the recipient of a 2012 Los Angeles Conservancy Preservation Award. The building, an astronomy lab built in 1932 that has undergone extensive renovations over the past two years, is the nation's first lab constructed in an existing historic building to earn LEED Platinum rating.

The Los Angeles Conservancy is a nonprofit organization that works to recognize, preserve, and revitalize the historic architectural and cultural resources of Los Angeles County. According to the organization's website, award recipients "range widely, from sensitive restoration, rehabilitation, and adaptive reuse projects, to groundbreaking advocacy and education efforts by individuals and groups."

The awards are selected by an independent jury of leading experts in architecture, historic preservation, and community development. Linde + Robinson was noted for "an exceptionally creative and sensitive approach" that "transformed a historic astrophysics laboratory into a highly advanced and sustainable scientific facility—the first-ever LEED Platinum renovation of a historic lab building," according to a press release issued by the conservancy. The "massive project," notes the conservancy on its website, "not only preserved the building 's unique historic features, it found brilliant new uses for them—particularly the solar telescope, built as the centerpiece of the original building but functionally obsolete. Now it tracks the sun and uses the light it captures for both illumination and exploration."

The transformation of Linde + Robinson into a state-of-the-art model of sustainability began in early 2010. It now stands as one of the nation's most energy-efficient laboratories—fitting for a building that houses the Ronald and Maxine Linde Center for Global Environmental Science, a group of researchers dedicated to developing solutions to the world's complex environmental problems.

In selecting Linde + Robinson for an award, the jury highlighted the "exceptional combination of preservation, technology, and sustainability; Caltech's stewardship of its historic resources; the high quality of the work; and just how incredibly cool it is," notes Cindy Olnick, the director of communications for the conservancy.

The Preservation Awards will be presented at a luncheon on Thursday, May 10, at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

Written by Katie Neith