The County of San Mateo had to balance several high priorities when developing a new structure for its headquarters.
As this building would serve a large contingent of people for generations to come, it would need an iconic, enduring design.
As the need for climate leadership grows - worldwide but especially in the peninsula region - it would be critical to achieve a remarkably low carbon footprint in both the construction of the building, as well as the building’s daily operations.
As this headquarters would be built with public funds, fiscal responsibility was imperative.
The team at Cobalt deeply understood these needs, as well as the continual challenges San Mateo County faced in meeting them.
Working hand in hand with county officials, Cobalt was able to align architecture and construction stakeholders around design methodologies that honored financial controls, yet allowed for extensive creative agency; the COB3 exterior features a stunning combination of glass and natural wood, while the interior provides an innovative, biophilic environment that delivers natural light throughout the entire footprint.
By cultivating a truly beautiful environment for their use, as well as doing so on a record low cost per square foot, COB3 will be a testament to the County’s multi-faceted commitment to the people it serves.
Woven throughout all other needs and challenges of building COB3 was that of sustainability. The Cobalt team was able to guide the County, architects, and contractors on the use of cross-laminated timber.
While a typical mass timber structure has 65 to 75 percent less embodied carbon than a conventional steel structure, COB3’s cross laminated timber design has lowered its structural embodied carbon by 85 percent.
Additionally, solar arrays on site will produce all the energy needed for the building’s operations. COB3 will be the one of the first net-zero energy, ultra-low-carbon civic buildings in the United States.
“We had already built this structure hundreds of different ways- financially, politically, scientifically, environmentally, etc - with our team at the County long before construction actually began. We had to understand every aspect of this project, and which controls would enable our design and construction partners to truly succeed in their contributions,” says Daniel Griffiths, Partner at Cobalt.
Not only is COB3 becoming a benchmark of innovative design, fiscal leadership, and sustainability, but also of the incredible results that are possible with the right alignment of the public and private sectors.