Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Design Book

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Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Headquarters

Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Headquarters Agoura Hills, California

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.

The Foundation Priorities

This new home in Agoura Hills will prepare the Hilton Foundation for the time it will double in size and staff. My father, Barron Hilton, has pledged his intent to follow in the footsteps of his father, Conrad Hilton, and contribute virtually his entire net worth at the time of his passing. This new project will allow us to grow accordingly into the future. Steven M. Hilton :: Chairman, President & CEO / Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

In 1944, Conrad N. Hilton established the Foundation that bears his name as a philanthropic trust. While the Foundation remained relatively small until his death in 1979, today it ranks among the largest foundations in the country. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $1 billion in grants in eleven priority areas: Supporting Catholic Sisters; Children Affected by HIV / AIDS; Supporting Transition-Age Youth in Foster Care; Ending Chronic Homelessness; Preventing Substance Abuse; Providing Safe Water; Confronting Sight Loss; Nurturing Catholic Schools; Responding to Natural Disasters; Educating Students for the Hospitality Industry; and Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis. The Foundation also administers the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, the world’s largest humanitarian award. Because of the Foundation’s projected growth, the Board of Directors decided to build a permanent home. The new campus is a testimony of the Foundation’s commitment to continue its work well into the future, and this building represents the first phase of a campus that will allow its expansion. As such, the new campus has been planned and designed to establish a regional precedent for environmental stewardship, and the Foundation has committed to use this facility for educational purposes to advance understanding of sustainable design and construction practices.

LEFT Main building entry.

Campus Master Plan

When I think about this incredibly unique building, my hope would be that in 100 years the people who will be working at the Hilton Foundation will walk around and they will 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

The four-phased building 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 Agoura Hills site, but with that came the added responsibility of ensuring that the new campus would also create a dialog between the site, its buildings, and the user’s experience. Chairman, President & CEO, Steven M. Hilton had a vision of a cutting-edge, environmentally sensitive, energy efficient campus with the lowest possible 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 vision was for a 90,300 SF campus that, when complete, will be highly sustainable and net-zero energy user. Future office buildings that will be constructed as the Foundation continues to grow, will provide a welcoming architecture that is an extension of the environment. The circulation routes within the site will eventually include electric-powered carts and a funicular to navigate the steep slope between the eastern and western parts of the campus to leave minimal impact on the land.

RIGHT Considerable effort went into minimizing the impact of construction on the oak trees and into preserving the natural character of the site.

Agour a

Campus Site Plan Inclined Cable Tramway

Phase 4 21,300 SF Two-story Office Building

Phase 2 36,000 SF Two-story Office Building

N 1/126”=1” 0




Photovoltaic Panels ls Over Ov er P Parking Phase 3 7,500 SF Two-story Office Building

Phase 1 Debris Basin Bas asin

Phase 1 Building :: West-East Section

22,240 SF Two-story Office Building

Phase 1 Net-Zero Building

One of our hopes in creating this very special building was that it’s not only just for our use, but that it could be a model for others who have an interest in trying to make a difference on this planet by building in a more environmentally sensitive way. Steven M. Hilton :: Chairman, President & CEO / Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

The 22,240 SF Phase 1 building includes offices and meeting facilities organized around a central core of support functions. Planned to achieve the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED-Platinum certification, the building is designed as a net-zero energy facility, generating all the energy it needs through renewable energy on an annual basis. To achieve this, the building relies completely on natural ventilation rather than on mechanically operated systems of heating and air-conditioning to control the indoor environment. The building’s architecture is the result of an artful encounter between nature and technology. As the product of a sustainability-driven design process, the building is a minimalist, architectural ensemble, and a warm and comfortable environment. The building has a sense of textural richness, and the architecture also expresses the integrated systems that work passively to make the building function as an uplifting, sustainable place to work. The building is sited to respect the natural slope and hillside setting, while keeping the best possible solar orientation. The simple, box-like form allows for views out, while admitting daylight in multiple ways, creating a remarkable indoor environment. The articulation of the form also facilitates a dialog between building and site, creating inhabitable outdoor spaces that give voice to the interface between the architectural form and the local landscape. The split-face stone cladding enhances that dialog by echoing the texture and color of the local stone. This synergy between building and site affords the whole complex a tangible sense of place.

RIGHT Foundation staff and visitors who arrive at the Phase 1 building enter from the parking located to the southwest.

Bioswales, or natural drainage channels, clean stormwater runoff from the driveways and parking lot before it leaves the property.

Level 2

Level 1

RIGHT Foundation exterior entry at dusk.

LEFT Two-story entry and reception lobby. // ABOVE Reception lobby, visitor waiting area.

LEFT Entry to lobby from landscaped courtyard. // ABOVE Foundation Board Room.

LEFT Clerestories reinforce the sense of light and feel of openness. // ABOVE Private offices are organized around a

double-height atrium.

LEFT North-facing private office. // ABOVE All offices and conference rooms have access to daylight and views.

LEFT Air is expelled through digitally controlled clerestory windows at the top of the atrium. // ABOVE Daylight throughout, and

interactive open spaces, reinforce a collegial work environment.


This is really the kind of approach that we should be taking in the future with our buildings; increasing their performance, decreasing their footprint on the land, and really thinking very clearly about the systems. This building is the most integrated building from a systems point of view that you could possibly imagine. Doss Mabe, FAIA :: Partner / ZGF Architects LLP

Passive Downdraft System The building is almost entirely conditioned using a passive downdraft HVAC system. The passive downdraft system uses thermal buoyancy forces to drive the flow of ventilation and cooling air through the building without the use of fans. Additional cooling is provided in the air stream through the use of cooling coils so that in warm weather the space can be kept cool and ventilated. The air is heated in cold weather. The passive flow of air is supplied via downdraft shafts, or chimneys, integrated into the building’s perimeter and structural lateral system through a raised floor system. Each chimney serves four offices to supply air to plenums with raised floors where it naturally rises through the offices. Air is exhausted from the offices into the central atrium space—carried by convective currents—and out through the digitally controlled clerestory windows, eliminating the need for fans from the building and using much higher supply temperatures than conventional systems.

RIGHT Illustration depicting the passive downdraft ventilation system that captures air through a series of chimneys on top of the building, reduces the need for electricity, and also improves the quality of the indoor environment.



LEFT View of downdraft shaft, digitally controlled windows, and green roof. // ABOVE Exterior view of the downdraft shafts.


We were thinking of this building more as a natural machine. So, all of the materials, the material qualities of the building, are a part of the mechanical system of the building in a kind of unprecedented way. Doss Mabe, FAIA :: Partner / ZGF Architects LLP

Solar Thermal Heating System Energy for the heating load and hot water comes from the sun, with the back-up water heating system using a solar thermal system. The solar thermal array, consisting of 1,000 SF (750 SF net) of evacuated tubes, along with a 3,000-gallon hot water storage tank provide almost 70% of the hot water heating and all of the domestic hot water for the project. A back-up electric boiler is used only when required. Water Cooled Chiller System The HVAC system provides chilled water using a water-cooled chiller, combined with a cooling tower and pumps. The 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, will potentially allow the building to have 61% HVAC energy savings when compared to a code compliant HVAC system (ASHRAE 90.1 - 2007) or 46% overall building energy savings. Thermal comfort is also benefitted by a lack of cold or warm drafts that conventional HVAC systems normally produce.

RIGHT The climate, usually warm and dry, is similar to Mediterranean climates, and the building’s modern twist on wind towers from those climates was used as passive intakes for the building, supplemented by stored solar energy for heating.

Water Cooled Chiller System Diagram







LEFT The building’s solar thermal array on the roof. // ABOVE The building’s mechanical room.


My hope was to gather the best and the brightest experts in sustainable building and green technologies, with the goal of stretching them to come up with ideas that they thought were the most cutting-edge possible. Steven M. Hilton :: Chairman, President & CEO / Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Renewable Energy The building incorporates a solar photovoltaic array of approximately 11,000 SF that generates approximately 115 kW of solar electricity each year. The system is sized considerably smaller than other similar systems of its kind due to the overall low electric demands shaped by the building’s innovative energy strategies. The overall system generates an estimated 167,500 kWh per year and an overall energy savings, including renewable resources, of 95% when compared to a code compliant building system (ASHRAE 90.1 - 2007).

Daylighting Passive design strategies, such as building orientation with the long axis running east to west and maintaining a thin floor plate, allow daylight to penetrate regularly occupied spaces. The natural daylight in each space gives the occupants the ability to control the electric lighting by turning artificial light off during daylit hours, thus significantly reducing energy use throughout the year. Daylight sensors turn off electric lighting when adequate daylight is available near glazing and building perimeter spaces.

Active Shading System A key requirement of the passive downdraft HVAC system is the need to control direct sun from the conditioned space whenever the outside air temperatures are above 80°F. The automated external shading system is designed to limit the direct sun on the southwest façade of the building, yet enable occupants to enjoy outdoor views and abundant natural light. Lighting that is not needed can be turned off with automated controls or by building occupants.

RIGHT An automated exterior shading system on the south façade, that raises and lowers with the angles of the sun, ensures interior comfort by mitigating glare and heat gains.

Shades Open

Shades Closed



Improved Water Quality The project’s site and landscape design includes unique measures to collect and reduce pollution. As runoff collects from the driveways, parking areas, and pedestrian spaces, it is directed through a series of bioswales and storm drains, which enable the runoff to infiltrate or soak into the ground as it is conveyed through the site. The project also incorporates permeable pavers in the main entry driveway and parking areas, and decomposed granite paths, to help mitigate stormwater issues and allow percolation into the soil, decreasing runoff that eventually leaves the site and goes to streams, estuaries, and the ocean.

Green Roof The project incorporates a system of intensive and extensive green roofs, which absorb up to 60-100% of a one-inch rainfall, thereby lessening the impact of runoff to the site and minimizing the size of needed catch basins.

Recycled Water for Toilets and Cooling Tower In addition to being used for site irrigation, reclaimed water is also utilized in the office building. This water is plumbed into the building’s toilets for flushing, further reducing the use of potable water onsite. Reclaimed water is also used in the cooling tower that controls and operates the building’s ventilation systems. Potable Water Conservation The landscape design focuses on native California vegetation with drought-tolerant characteristics. The project includes a 20,000 gallon buried cistern, which stores 100% of rainwater that is collected from the building’s green roof. The irrigation is served from the mixing tank that receives water from onsite sources, including rainwater and recycled water from the Water District. Sensors monitor the quality of the various water sources and blend them to minimize the amount of potable water in the mix, and also to create irrigation water that will not harm the sensitive root systems of the native plants. Debris Basin Prior to construction, the site was used by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works as a debris basin made of concrete and steel that was designed to collect and remove rocks, mud, and vegetation coming down from Ladyface Mountain during heavy storms. Unlike most County basins, the bottom and earthen sides are irrigated and planted with a special seed mix of native California grasses and wildflowers.

Stormwater Design





Blending Tank Valve Control

Debris Basin




A landscaped courtyard outside the Foundation Board Room provides outdoor space for building users.

LEFT // ABOVE The building offers users attractive outdoor spaces for meetings and informal interaction.

LEFT // ABOVE The natural environment governed the choice of materials and selection of the earth-tone palette for the building.

The outdoor spaces and landscape are an extension of the interior environment, and the overall design maximizes natural light and is a calming, contemporary solution that is simply stated in its architectural vocabulary.




Bigelow Development Associates

WSP Flack+Kurtz / Built Ecology Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing Engineer / Security Consultant / Energy and Passive Design Consultant



KPFF Consulting Engineers Structural Engineer

David Nelson & Associates Lighting Designer

MATT Construction Stantec Consulting Services Civil Engineer

Van Atta Associates Landscape Architect

Davis Langdon 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 MerrickŠHedrich Blessing Photographer

Printed on recycled paper.

PORTLAND 1223 SW Washington Street Suite 200 Portland, Oregon 97205 T 503.224.3860

LOS ANGELES 515 South Flower Street Suite 3700 Los Angeles, California 90071 T 213.617.1901

NEW YORK 419 Park Avenue South 20th Floor New York, New York 10016 T 212.624.4754

SEATTLE 925 Fourth Avenue Suite 2400 Seattle, Washington 98104 T 206.623.9414

WASHINGTON, DC 1800 K Street NW Suite 200 Washington, DC 20006 T 202.380.3120

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