Resnick Sustainability Center

A mass timber home for bold climate solutions


California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, California, United States
80,000 square feet
In progress

Essentially a makerspace for scientists, Caltech’s Resnick Sustainability Center will be a dynamic hub for critical research into the most pressing climate and sustainability challenges we face. 

Designed by our Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign, the building will unite experts from across physical sciences, life sciences and engineering disciplines in shared spaces with access to unparalleled instrumentation to advance novel solutions that extend beyond any single discipline.

In line with the building’s sustainability mission, a soaring, timber-framed atrium houses the center’s social and collaborative spaces, and the swooping glass curtain wall flooding this multi-story space with natural light incorporates a mass timber grid shell.

The Sustainability Center’s transparent design puts “science on display,” helping spark the imagination of passersby.

In the building’s core, key spaces include a biosphere engineering facility, a solar science and catalysis center, a remote sensing center, a translational science facility, teaching labs, and lecture and interactive learning spaces.

Surrounding the building, 40-to-50 carbon-sequestering trees will be planted along with native, drought-resistant flora. A covered ground-floor passageway will serve as a north-to-south pedestrian artery, and the building will face a major campus green space known as Beckman Lawn.
Mehrdad Yazdani, Design Principal and Director of the Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign, shares insight on how the building breaks precedent to bring people together for incredible innovation.


  • In certain ways, Caltech is conducting an experiment that really hasn’t been done in sustainability. We are building an institute that really tries to pull, essentially, all of the campus toward problems in sustainability. We need all hands on deck.

    Jonas Peters Resnick Sustainability Institute Director
The Resnick Sustainability Resource Center At Caltech 2
Mechanical systems will consume reduced amounts of energy compared to other lab buildings on campus, and condenser water from the cooling system will be recycled for use nearby. Interior finishes will all be low-VOC and prioritize rapidly renewable and low-embodied carbon materials.

A space for all students

The building won’t just benefit graduate students and scientists coming together from varying disciplines/departments. The center’s second floor will be populated by undergraduate classrooms and labs, and every freshman will have at least one class in the building.

Resnick Sustainability Center exterior construction
Resnick Sustainability Center exterior construction


  • Bringing every Caltech student into this space puts an emphasis on how integral sustainability is to all of the areas of discipline they will encounter throughout their education at Caltech

    Mehrdad Yazdani Design Principal, Director of Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign