Project scope: CK-Architecture as Design Architects
Completed: 2006
Client: USC, Capital Construction Development
Size: 23,000 sq. ft.
Budget: $ 8.2 million
Executive Architect:
A.C. Martin Partners
Walter P. Moore & Associates
HVAC: IBE Consulting Engineers
Lighting: Kaplan Gehring McCarroll

The Robert H. Timme, FAIA Graduate Research Center consists of a full floor addition to the existing Watt Hall, currently home to the USC School of Architecture and the Roski School of Fine Arts. The addition to the fair face concrete building has been designed with three main ideas in mind.
To create a center to the school of architecture: The design creates a central atrium connecting the existing second floor of Watt Hall with the new expansion on the third floor. This new two-story atrium acts as the physical heart of the school of architecture by generating a strong identity for the entire building. In addition, the atrium opens the existing second floor of the building to a generous clerestory bringing abundant natural light into the center of the building. The atrium serves as entry, exhibition space and location for informal lecture venues.
To create a flexible learning environment: The open studio zone is designed to wrap around the central core zone. This will be the most flexible zone of the new floor, thus allowing the creation of a “plug and play” learning and studying environment. Floor access points to power and data allows multiple furniture configurations for short- and long-term activities. The open and flexible configuration of this zone lends itself to the studying of and experimenting with numerous building issues such as room acoustics and ceilings, day-lighting, artificial lighting and glare-free environment, future office or studio configurations, ultraviolet degradation and the study of toxin-free interior materials. The 20 foot clear ceiling height in combination with generous high-level clerestory windows offer good natural lighting deep into the studio space.
To create a sustainable indoor-outdoor environment at the perimeter: In the mild and temperate climate of Southern California, the connection between indoor and outdoor activities has always been a major consideration in the design of buildings. The design for the Watt Hall third floor expansion incorporates a considerable amount of outdoor learning and studying space. The perimeter zone of the building includes a series of intimate garden spaces. Lush, sustainable, drought resistant, indigenous planting, these gardens will bring focus to the concept of indoor-outdoor learning spaces. Besides their use as outdoor learning and conference spaces, the gardens will form an invaluable study tool for the school’s program of landscape architecture.