Cooley Landing Education Center: California’s first CLT roof system

Cooley Landing Education Center is the first building in California approved for using Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) as its roof gravity and lateral structural system. The CLT roof system was chosen because of its combined ability to span across the open community space, to be pre-finished to match the sculpted wood form of the building, and for prefabrication – crucial to reduce the construction schedule.

Other sustainable features of the project include a mechanical system utilizing in-slab radiant heating and cooling in conjunction with natural ventilation via operable windows. It was also designed to incorporate future photovoltaics, affording likely Net Zero Energy use.

The one-storey 4,000-gsf building on a newly reclaimed landfill provides citizens of East Palo Alto to access the natural wonders of the SF Bay. The structure houses exhibits on local natural history and provides facilities for meetings and celebrations.


More significantly, the people who have co-designed the project pay tribute to the area’s history formerly known as Raven­swood. Its significance as a shipping hub in the 1800s is acknowledged by the hull and sail forms sculpted in wood, while the brickworks that supplied materials for San Francisco’s Palace Hotel are honoured by the brick service cores.



LOCATION: East Palo Alto, CA

YEAR: 2015

OWNER: City of East Palo Alto


CONTRACTOR: Arbor Building Group, Inc.


SIZE: < 5,000 sq ft

IMAGES: Michael O’Callahan, FOG

AWARDS: Architizer A + Awards 2016