Soka University of America’s new Soka Performing Arts Center and Academic Building project, which opened in September 2011, recently received LEED gold certification. The $73 million Soka Performing Arts Center, which is situated on 1.9 acres of the campus in Aliso Viejo, Calif., serves as a venue for concerts, theater productions, lectures and assemblies.

The project included construction of a three-level, 47,836-square-foot center housing a reception lobby, support spaces and a 1,000-seat auditorium. A 48,974-square-foot Academic Building is situated next to and provides support for the center. The new four-level academic building houses 11 classrooms, 29 faculty offices, a 150-seat black-box theater, four dressing rooms, a rehearsal/dance studio, musician warm-up spaces and other support areas.

Both structures incorporate sustainable and energy-efficiency solutions, including green roofs and solar panels. The green roof holds soil filled with succulent plants, providing sound insulation as well as insulation for heating and cooling. It also absorbs rain water to filter it before it goes into the Wood Canyon watershed, and it converts carbon dioxide to oxygen. A bioswale was built to help manage stormwater runoff.

Sustainable construction methods included recycling 75 percent of construction waste; maintaining proper indoor air quality; using local labor and ensuring that the subcontractors installed the specified green materials.

Zimmer Gunsul Frasca (Los Angeles) designed the project, and McCarthy Building Companies was general contractor.