John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects (JFAK)

John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects (JFAK)

Los Angeles, CA


Jorgensen Laboratory - Caltech

The 31,400 square-foot Jorgensen Laboratory houses two institutes at Caltech, Resnick Institute / JCAP, whose collective mission is to address the challenges in the generation, storage, transmission, and conservation of energy.

To create an appropriate new home for these two centers, the vacant Jorgensen Laboratory, a fortress-like concrete structure originally built in 1974, was transformed into a model of sustainability, energy efficiency, and collaborative creativity. Colors from the visible light spectrum (the rainbow) make up the palette for furniture, accent walls, floor patterns, and conference rooms. The first floor core of the building is wrapped with high-resolution satellite images of the rotating Earth. As the scientists circulate through the corridors, these dynamic images continuously remind them of the subject and importance of their research.

Various measures were taken to minimize energy use throughout, including a custom-designed display in the new entry Pavilion lobby that tracks how much energy the building is both using and generating. By physically displaying these systems, the building acts as an educational tool and users take part in energy conservation. The result: a LEED-Platinum certification.


  • 2015 AIA California Council Design Merit Award
  • 2013 U.S. Green Building Council: Energy & Atmosphere, Honorable Mention Award; Material & Resources, Award; IEQ, Honorable Mention Award,
  • 2013 Southern California Development Forum Science & Technology Award
  • 2013 Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Award
  • 2013 Westside Urban Forum: Westside Prize, Design Award
  • 2013 Los Angeles Business Council: Los Angeles Architectural Award of Excellence
  • 2012 AIA Pasadena & Foothill Chapter Honor Award
  • 2012 Interior Design Best of Year Awards, Honoree
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Status: Built
Location: Pasadena, CA, US
Firm Role: Architect
Additional Credits: Principal-in-Charge: John Friedman
Project Architect: Robert McFadden
Project Team: Alice Kimm, Matt Azen, Marc Cucco, Garrett Belmont, Eddie Hermann, Claudia Kessner, Jessica Sano
Project Assistants: Greg Corso, Michael Gevorkian, Charles Heid, Andrew Kim, Michael Leung, Lauren Takeda, Dylan Wood
Structural Engineer: Saiful Bouquet
MEP and Sustainability Engineer: Buro Happold
Landscape Architect: The Office of James Burnett
Civil Engineer: VCA Engineers
Lab Planner: Jacobs Consultancy
Technology + Acoustics: Waveguide
FF&E: Neiman Studio
Custom Furniture Fabrication: Cisco Brothers
Commissioning Agent: TMCx Solution, LLC
Photography: Fotoworks