Southwestern Law School’s First Residence Earns LEED Platinum

LOS ANGELES — The Residences at 7th, a new 133-unit residence hall on the Southwestern Law School campus in Los Angeles, was recently awarded LEED Platinum certification. This modern, non-smoking structure was recognized for a highly sustainable design, careful use of construction materials and resources, recycling efforts and its close proximity to public transit.

The $20 million facility is Southwestern’s first official on-campus residence and serves as an immediate focal point. The building’s clean, white exterior more closely resembles a modern beach house than a standard dormitory and features a mix of curved and angular lines. As The Residences at 7th is also described as a living and learning community, these themes were heavily integrated even before construction began.

Prior to the design process, Southwestern Law School held several focus groups with students, staff and faculty. The results of these gatherings reinforced Southwestern’s environmentally conscious approach, as many participants expressed a clear desire for energy-efficient appliances, natural building products and recycling programs. According to James C. Camp, assistant dean for property administration and development, the administration listened. "We worked hard to make this a healthy, sustainable and livable home for our students," Camp said.

After building on the Southwestern community’s suggestions and requests, The Residences at 7th was awarded LEED points for its wide use of local and recycled materials, careful waste management efforts, and management of onsite erosion. Further points were gained from an innovative system in which runoff from the facility’s roof, courtyard and permeable paving is directed to a water infiltration system. Careful landscaping and high efficiency irrigation systems also reduced irrigation needs by roughly 20 percent, improving the site’s overall score.

The inclusion of Energy Star appliances and highly rated windows help keep energy costs and usage down inside, as does an HVAC system proven to be 24 percent more efficient than the Title 24 minimum. High-efficiency fixtures have been installed to minimize water usage, and all residents have received training in the structure’s various sustainability systems.

Serving a variety of transportation preferences also helped secure the prestigious LEED Platinum rating. The pedestrian-friendly site features preferred parking for hybrid or electric cars, plug-in stations, secure bicycle storage and is only a short distance from bus and rail systems.

Janice Manis, chief operating officer at Southwestern believes the recognition is a fine reflection of the school itself. "Achieving this certification represents the essence of Southwestern as an institution – to make a positive daily difference for the law school and the broader Los Angeles community,” Manis said.

The Residences at 7th was developed by Corsini Stark Architects and Symphony Development, both based in Los Angeles. MATT Construction, also of Los Angeles, was responsible for all construction.