In November 2015, the University of California Office of the President mandated that the state’s ten universities increase its overall enrollment by 10,000 students over the next two years. With many of the system’s urban campuses hemmed in by development controls, certain rural campuses, like those in Santa Barbara, Davis, and San Diego, were designated as high-growth sites expected to absorb most of the increased enrollment.  

As a part of that expansion, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ) and the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) recently began construction on a 16,365-square-foot, 580-seat lecture hall designed to offer state-of-the-art facilities for the university’s growing student population and relief from the campus’s overcrowded classrooms. The $22-million hall features a clamshell design that allows for a larger interior lecture space. This digitally-savvy lecture space features three large retractable projection screens and is flanked by two generously-proportioned and interconnected interstitial lobby areas designed to accommodate study and social functions.

Courtesy Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Courtesy Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

In a press release concerning the hall’s design, Karl Backus, design principal from Bohlin Cywinski Jackson’s San Francisco office stated, “The new Lecture Hall is designed to provide much needed instructional space for the University’s growing enrollment. We received valuable input from administration, faculty, and students to create a highly interactive learning environment with state-of-the-art technology and advanced sustainability.”



The classroom is one of many projects currently under development at the university, including new international student, veterinary medicine, and graduate student centers, as well as a new recital hall, refurbished student union, and the nearly completed Manetti Shrem Museum of Art designed by Brooklyn-based SO-IL, for which BCJ is also the associated architect. These projects, completed under the banner of the university’s so-called “2020 Initiative,” will help UC Davis expand total undergraduate enrollment from about 23,844 in the 2011-12 school year to 28,850 by 2020. BCJ’s lecture hall is due to be completed in late 2018.

Related Stories