Atherton Civic Center

Location:  Atherton
Building type:  Community, civic center, police, admin and library; new construction
Status: In construction
Size: 41,979 square feet
Expected completion: 2021
Energy use intensity:  29 (targeted)
Electric / total energy use: 100%


The facilities of the aging civic center of the Town of Atherton were functionally obsolete and did not reflect the environmental commitment and communal spirit of the town. As a result, the community came together to rebuild their town square to be welcoming and ecologically-sensitive with an all-electric, low carbon campus comprised of a healthy material selection, and designed for future integration of photovoltaics. With the goal of reduced water and energy demand, the project exemplifies low impact features for stormwater and landscape strategies, as well as healthy indoor considerations.

The project involved demolishing the existing administration/police department buildings and the police garage, renovating the Historic Town Hall, adding a new City Hall building, constructing a new Library building, and making site and roadway improvements. Plus, the project called for renewable energy sources, drought-tolerant landscaping, and a storm management approach complete with bioswales and pervious paving.

Located on 5 acres adjacent to the train station, the new campus supports a two-story, 28,575-sf, City Hall building that brings the police department, town administration, building/planning offices, post office, and council chambers under one roof. Distinguished by a red tiled roof, white plaster walls, and exposed reclaimed wood beams, the L-shaped structure creates continuity with the adjacent Historic Town Hall, erected in 1928. This structure is now being renovated as part of the new, modern, single-story, 9,601-sf Library building which will house flex areas, reading/teaching rooms, and maker spaces, among a vast collection. Decking and al fresco seating bridge the old and new. The Historic Town Hall will serve as the Library’s multipurpose space, and house the Atherton Historical Association’s offices, featuring artifacts from the town’s rich history. Embedded with low carbon strategies, the project is a nod to the past and to the future.

Daylighting, natural ventilation and access to open spaces drove the design, reducing needs for artificial lighting, cooling and heating. Roof overhangs, colonnades, and thick walls further lessen energy loads. Acoustic teak tiles, stone counters, clay tiles, wood treads, and eco-carpet define the material palette. The building is served by a radiant ceiling system. Ventilation is provided by dedicated air handlers.

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Special Features:

  • Heat pump water heater
  • Radiant heating or cooling
  • Envelope insulation
  • Insulated glazing
  • Shading
  • Daylighting

Project Team:

Architect: WRNS Studio
MP Engineers: Interface Engineering
Electrical Engineers: Integral Group
Contractor: S.J. Amoroso Construction