For Santa Monica firm Moore Ruble Yudell (MRY), architecture does not simply emerge from the confines of the office. It grows from conversations and interactions with clients, users, settings, and landscapes.
“Creativity is not limited to a kind of solo genius,” said firm Principal Buzz Yudell. “People understand enormous amounts about where they work and live. Part of the process is tapping that creativity.”
Their work is less about ego and form and more about enhancing support, dialogue, and connection. Fellow Principal John Ruble described the firm’s approach as “getting a deeper, more multidimensional sense of the community that’s going to use [the architecture] and understanding the project. I think the stronger the engagement, the better the projects are.”
Perhaps no other client requires this kind of dialogue as much as universities, where creating buildings and master plans means connecting campuses and managing the desires of diverse, sophisticated, demanding, and vocal constituencies. The firm is working on an astonishing range of projects in this sector. Each one, said Yudell, informs the next, whether it is a small renovation in the United States, or a city-sized campus in China.
Lower Sproul Redevelopment
University of California, Berkeley
This project “brings new life and a greater sense of community,” said Yudell, to the school’s South West Campus District, with the design of a new multi-building Student Community Center. It calls for recasting existing midcentury buildings and building new ones to create modern, flexible facilities for student services, retail, food service, performance, and meeting spaces for student organizations. The firm also choreographed new movement patterns through the existing student union to the adjoining additions and to the broader campus.
Shanghai Technical University
Located next to bustling Pudong, the new campus for the Chinese Academy of Sciences is centered around a “Great Lawn” that links research, administration, teaching, and libraries. Three axes emerge radially from this centerpiece, forming a coherent spatial sequence for the massive city-in-a-city. The linear axes divide the campus into pastoral, formal academic, and urban sectors. Intersecting the green space and connecting the neighborhoods is the Gallery, a curved, enclosed multiuse promenade linking individual residential and academic buildings. “It’s incredibly exciting and a bit frightening looking at the scale and speed that things are happening there,” noted Yudell.
Grangegorman Urban Quarter Master Plan
Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland
MRY’s master plan creates a new campus for the Dublin Institute of Technology, linking both historic and new buildings. Structures are connected through a “Cultural Garden,” while a pedestrian spine integrates facilities with radiating landscape “fingers” picking up buildings, said Yudell, “like rocks in a flowing stream.” The plan focuses on Library Square, which serves as the campus heart, and the Arts Forum, which is lined with theaters, museums, and exhibition galleries. Student housing and amenities are woven through the site along a serpentine landscape path.
Faculty Club Renovation
University of California, Santa Barbara
Originally designed by firm co-founder Charles W. Moore in 1969, the club is an architectural icon, but it needed major upgrades to respond to current demands. The restored building—with many of its original surfaces uncovered—will be double its original size, offering 34 guest rooms that open to an outdoor terrace for special events. It will feature an enclosed pavilion, two event terraces, meeting rooms, a lounge, a bar, a private dining room, and a manager’s suite.
Olin Business School
Washington University, St. Louis
This $90 million project includes two buildings united by a soaring glass atrium totaling 175,000 square feet. It nearly doubles the business school’s footprint, including seven classrooms, an auditorium, 75 faculty offices, as well as forums, lounges, offices, and spaces for interaction and collaboration. Perhaps the greatest challenge was to create a highly contemporary structure within the school’s mandatory collegiate gothic style. “We’re not a firm that minds working within a language, but we do want to work in a way we can be creative and push it and stretch it,” said Yudell.