Merced, CA

UC Merced | Science and Engineering 2


Structural (Design)

Geotechnical Engineering

Structural Engineering


102,000 sf

Key Info

Includes three-story canopy composed of vertical and horizontal PV panelsIntegrates structural and MEP systems into tight space to allow for open, flexible usable areas

The Science and Engineering 2 building continues UC Merced's quest for high sustainability in design and function. It is the second building to accommodate instruction and research programs in the School of Engineering and the School of Natural Sciences. The three-story 102,000 sf building includes open and flexible class laboratories, research laboratories, study facilities, collaborative breakout spaces, and academic and administrative offices. The building was designed to meet LEED Platinum standards.A major design goal was to integrate the building with its surroundings, to provide indoor-outdoor space and connect to neighboring buildings. Structural solutions to achieve this goal:integrated the steel framed structure with exposed concrete to fit within the campus context,incorporated the structural and MEP systems essential to laboratory functions into tight 15-foot floor to ceiling height spaces,and included design of a visually minimal support structure for a three-story photovoltaic panel canopy between buildings. The canopy is composed of vertical and horizontal PV panels.Laboratories at the ground floor include adjacent porches, which serve as outdoor learning space. A pedestrian plaza and shaded walkways connect the buildings within the quad.The building was designed with stellar energy performance in mind and serves as an experimentation space for renewable energy. The rooftop includes solar water heaters that are accessible and easily monitored for learning opportunities.Rutherford + Chekene worked closely with UC Merced, the MEP engineer and the architect, utilizing BIM to facilitate collaboration and design.

Alan Kren


When not otherwise pursuing the perfect wave or swimming an open-water race, Alan oversees a studio of talented and energetic engineers working on projects that run the gamut from aquaria, state of the art university laboratories, civic theaters, student housing, to repair of waterfront constructions, restoration of historic works, and structural peer review. Alan is fluent in all structural materials, understands their possibilities and limitations, and knows how to craft them to meet project goals. He is sensitive to client needs and demands and understands the pressures architects, designers and owners work under. His philosophy is to always bring enthusiasm and solutions to the client, to listen and find what he can give to realize the vision, to work as a team member, to make the project a positive experience for all involved. And being an engineer, he is practical and prudent in his solutions, cognizant of cost, constructability, and schedule.

Alan’s more notable projects include the restoration and revitalization of San Francisco’s historic Ferry Building, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, repair and restoration of the historic Neptune Pool at Hearst Castle San Simeon State Park, and the Science and Engineering 2 laboratory building at UC Merced. Alan is a lecturer at UC Berkeley where he teaches “Design of Reinforced Concrete Structures.” He takes pride and receives enormous satisfaction teaching at his alma mater and loves the energy and enthusiasm the students bring to class.

Science | Technology

Leavening peerless structural engineering skill with humor, philosophy, people skills and, above all, a consummate understanding of San Francisco's permitting process, [Alan] saw this project through.