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Design Overview



Bigelow Development Associates

WSP Flack+Kurtz / Built Ecology



MATT Construction

Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Headquarters

Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing Engineer / Security Consultant / Energy and Passive Design Consultant

KPFF Consulting Engineers Structural Engineer

David Nelson & Associates Lighting Designer

Agoura Hills, California

Stantec Consulting Services Civil Engineer

Van Atta Associates

When I think about this incredibly unique building, my hope is that in 100 years the people who will be working at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation will walk around and say that somebody, some group, had tremendous foresight in designing a building that was not for the moment, but it was for generations to come. Steven M. Hilton :: Chairman, President & CEO, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Landscape Architect

Davis Langdon

The new headquarters project, located on 44 acres below Ladyface Mountain in Agoura Hills, California, is situated in the eastern Conejo Valley between the Simi Hills and the Santa Monica Mountains, approximately 30 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles. The natural beauty of this particular site and the overall quality of life in the area were among the primary factors in the Foundation’s decision to acquire the property, but with that came the added responsibility of ensuring that the new campus design would also create a dialogue between the site, its buildings, and the users’ experience.

Cost Estimator

Rocky Mountain Institute Sustainable Consultant

Alden Water Resource Engineer

GeoSoils Consultants Geotechnical Engineer

Envicom Corporation Environmental Consultant

PlanNet Consulting Audio Visual, IT, Security Consultant

Kaminski Kaneko Design Signage Consultant

The Cadmus Group, Inc. Commissioning Agent

Nick Merrick©Hedrich Blessing Photographer

30440 Agoura Road Agoura Hills, CA 91301 T 818.851.3700

Chairman, President & CEO, Steven M. Hilton had a vision of a cutting-edge, environmentally sensitive, energy efficient campus that would have the least impact on the surrounding geography and habitat. To achieve this, the Foundation initiated a design process that was aimed at identifying the site’s natural resources and its potential to support both the site planning and building design. The Master Plan envisions a 90,300 SF campus that will be developed in four phases, which will be highly sustainable and use net-zero energy. The office buildings that will be constructed as the Foundation continues to grow, will provide a welcoming architecture that is an extension of the natural environment. The circulation routes within the site will eventually include electric-powered carts and an electric tram to navigate the steep slope between the eastern and western parts of the campus to leave minimal impact on the land.



One of the goals of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation is to show how to efficiently use water in Southern California. Recognizing the growing demand for water and its increased scarcity, the Foundation chose to utilize drought-tolerant native plants and a series of techniques—including a specially designed debris basin, bioswales, inlets and other means of detention, retention and filtration of rainwater on site—to limit the amount of excess water going into the storm drain system. Rainwater is captured from the landscaped roof and stored in an underground 20,000-gallon tank for irrigation. Additional water for irrigation comes from blending tanks where a balanced mixture of potable and reclaimed water is maintained to best meet the watering needs of the native vegetation. Use of permeable paving stones and decomposed granite walkways allows for excess water to percolate into the soil. Reclaimed water is used to flush toilets and for site irrigation.

Designed to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED-Platinum certification, the new headquarters building of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation is as energy efficient as technology permits. The passive heating and cooling systems alone, by operating without conventional air handlers, permit the Foundation to reduce energy demands by over 60%. Outside air is drawn into the building from 17 chimneys. A natural buoyancy of airflow is created with cooler air dropping and warmer air being drawn out of the building through the automatically controlled vents in the clerestory windows between the upper and lower roofs. Computer systems, weather monitoring devices, and electric motors automatically control interior temperatures.









ACTIVE SHADING SYSTEM In addition to the Foundation’s new passive air conditioning system, climate is controlled on the sunny south side of the building via stainless steel window shades, which block sun rays while still allowing the occupant to enjoy a view of the outside. Linked to rooftop-mounted sensors, the shades react to the sun as it tracks across the sky. The shades automatically adjust up and down to screen the sunlight as the sun’s angle and intensity change. At the end of the day, the shades return to their original position, ready for the next morning. The system is fully automated, but each office has a switch for manual override, so if the occupant wants it warmer or cooler or wants more or less light, s/he can adjust the shades up or down to reach a desired comfort level. Other features extend control over temperature and energy usage while fostering a healthier atmosphere for building occupants. Inside, reliance on healthful, natural lighting is maximized via another passive system: “light shelves,” whose polished white surfaces bounce sunlight from window to ceiling and then down to illuminate work areas.

NATIVE PLANTS The property features mainly California-native plants that require little water or maintenance. The landscape design for the Foundation’s campus includes several green strategies, such as rainwater collection in an underground cistern, vegetated roofs, and native habitat restoration. Prior to initiating the building design process, an oak tree study was commissioned to identify the location, species, size, and health of all oak trees on the site. More than 200 protected Coast Live Oak and Valley Oak trees were retained near the building site, and at least 140 additional trees were planted to offset the few removed during construction. In addition, biology consultants identified a unique plant species that would be impacted by construction: the Navarretia Ojaiensis. The Foundation established an onsite restoration preserve that will maintain twice as many of this plant as impacted by the project. The plants will be cultivated and irrigated for two years to make sure the population is well-established and self-sustainable. This is an unprecedented horticultural experiment for this particular plant, so biologists are excited at the prospect and are very pleased with early successes.

WATER RE-USE The mechanical room is a showcase of water pipes. Pipes carrying solar-heated water are painted yellow, while pipes carrying chilled water are painted blue. Purple pipes indicate the flow of reclaimed water. The heated and chilled water are moved throughout the building as needed depending upon the time of year and outside temperatures. The HVAC system provides chilled water using a water-cooled chiller, combined with a cooling tower and pumps. This combination creates a system that is 50% more efficient than a stand-alone chiller. The highly efficient chiller, combined with the elevated supply temperatures used by the natural ventilation system, and the automated operable shading devices with high-performance glazing, potentially will allow the building to have 61% HVAC energy savings (46% overall building energy savings) when compared to a code compliant HVAC system.

GREEN ROOF / SOLAR THERMAL HEATING SYSTEM The lower roof of the building is planted with glossy, water-wise succulents that absorb heat from the sun, helping to insulate the roof. The layer of soil provides additional insulation to the building below, and also protects the roofing material from UV degradation. Solar thermal heat is obtained through the use of an array of evacuation tubes housed on the upper roof. Water is heated in the tubes and stored in a 3,000-gallon tank in the building’s mechanical room. Backed up by a conventional electric boiler, the heated water is circulated throughout the building’s raised floors to provide heat to the building. Roof-heated water preheats domestic hot water for the building.

NET-ZERO ENERGY One of the Foundation’s primary objectives for the design of its new campus was to make as little impact as possible in order to preserve the integrity of the surrounding environment.

An array of photovoltaic panels installed atop the canopies in the parking lot is designed to fulfill 100% of the site’s power requirements, even powering the electric car charging stations.

Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Building Brochure  

ZGF Architects in Los Angeles designed this brochure about our new campus in Agoura Hills, California.