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Exterior view of the front of the building in the evening.
Image showing front of the completed project from the southwest. Image Credit: Chipper Hatter


ARCC is a $22 million facility completed for the the County of San Diego in 2020. As a front door to the local government, this building is a valuable civic resource. Its core functions include: Assessor, Recorder, County Clerk, Tax Collector, Archive, and Wedding Venue.

The project was successful in meeting its two big goals: LEED Gold and net-zero energy. It also received an "Orchid" award for design excellence from the San Diego Architecture Foundation.

During design phases, I was heavily involved with 3D modeling, graphics, and production of construction documents. Throughout construction, I was responsible for coordinating with consultants and contractors to ensure the successful delivery of the project.

This taught me best practices in coordinating with large teams and working through technical details involved at different stages of the project lifecycle.

Click on any of the images below to view a gallery of some of the final photography. All photos were taken by Chipper Hatter.



As a public building, a large part of the project focuses on the interface between the county and its citizens. However, there are also more private functions that are key to the facility's operation.

Because of these two distinct sides, the scheme that was developed incorporates a clear boundary between them. Despite the differences in functionality, both have similar needs, and the same basic scheme is used for each.

This scheme includes a central axis serving as the main circulation, with immediate access to the most essential services directly flanking it on either side.

Sketch showing the basic design concept.

Another critical part of the concept involves the building's roof. On one side, the lifted roofline allows extra daylight into the office spaces, and on the opposite, it's positioned to create an opportunity to mount solar panels. The result is the building's unique butterfly roof that has become an iconic part of the design.

Diagram showing each step in creating the building's form.
An archivist accessing a document in the archive.


In 2017, the County of San Diego initiated a plan to cut its energy footprint in half by 2030. This required all new facilities to meet net-zero energy certification as well as LEED Gold.

One of the biggest obstacles to this goal was the archive. At over 6000 square feet, the space stores a large collection of irreplaceable documents and has very strict climactic requirements to ensure it functions properly.

As you can imagine, these types of requirements involve more complicated building systems to satisfy, which tend to consume more power than the typical building.

net-zero energy

To meet our goal of net-zero energy for the project, large coordination efforts took place with our engineering consultants to ensure these systems were as efficient as possible.

Other passive strategies like natural daylighting and strategic building orientation also contributed in optimizing the building's energy performance.

With these strategies in place, we developed an energy model for the building to help us understand the remaining energy load we needed to offset with our solar panels.

Diagram showing different types of energy loads and how many solar panels were needed to offset each.

leed gold

A big advantage of planning for net-zero energy was it put us in a great position to earn our LEED certification. However, we needed a broader set of sustainability strategies to get us there.

Two major parts of this included healthy building materials and stormwater management.

To meet the healthy building materials credit, I worked closely with the contractor to select compliant products that aligned with our project budget and expectations for quality.

As for stormwater, we worked with our civil engineer to analyze site drainage and collaborated on a plan to include retention basins that safely handled the site's stormwater and pushed us over the finish line to certification.

Isometric diagram showing the path of the sun relative to the building's solar panels.


View of ARCC entrance in the evening.

The completed project was a huge success and quickly became a point of pride for the County of San Diego as the newest addition to their network of facilities.

The process played a big role in my growth, forcing me to dive deep on technical coordination and teaching me valuable team communication skills. These will continue to benefit my career as I push toward the next chapter.