Posts tagged with "UCSB":

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UCSB looks back at the school’s often-overlooked role in campus modernism

UCSB Campus Architecture: Design and Social Change was a fascinating exhibition at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Art, Design, & Architecture Museum (ADA) that used master plans, drawings, photographs, and models to chart the profound changes in urban planning and public architecture design that took place at the university.

The exhibition also challenged several long-standing myths that plague California’s post–World War II urban planning legacy, including the persistent idea that many of the era’s plans were designed to remain static over time.

For one, the exhibition, curated by ADA reference archivist Julia Larson, was a subtle homage to two of the most prominent but largely forgotten regional urban thinkers of the postwar era—William L. Pereira and Charles Luckman—who together in 1953 crafted a cinnamon-hued urban design language for the university imbued with elements of vernacular modernism.

Their initial approach—dubbed the “Campus Standard” plan—was eclectic but extremely tasteful. In early buildings like the Ortega Dining Commons and Anacapa Residences, Ennis House–inspired concrete block piers mixed with hipped roofs, adobe-style stucco massing, and expressive modernist design elements to create solid, stark buildings that instantly rendered the barren site sophisticated.

The remaining grounds were exposed to ocean wind, because the site’s topsoil had initially been scraped away. In response, the first buildings by Pereira & Luckman were laid out in slender, interlocking L-shapes, each squat structure separated by concrete breezeblock walls and new plantings that curbed windblown dust.

When Pereira & Luckman dissolved their partnership in 1958, Luckman and his new office, Charles Luckman Associates (CLA), stayed on at UCSB as campus planners and executive architects. The new firm updated the Campus Standard plan in 1963 in preparation for a period of profound expansion; among these updates were new rules for taller and denser buildings. Although the updated guidelines CLA crafted were extremely particular, they also lent themselves well to adaptation. Again, hipped roofs, an almost classical use of columns, awnings, and screens, as well as thin-shell concrete spans soon became emblematic of a grown-up Southern California modernism, and an aesthetic touchstone for the state’s public and educational facilities.

Luckman’s seminal work at UCSB distilled several of the contemporaneous aesthetic trends coursing through American design into a coherent sensibility for the state’s burgeoning university system.

For example, Harold Frank Hall, built in 1967, stands out as a key example of this cohesive but open-ended style. The gridded, six-story complex is anchored by a long, low volume that features dentil-topped arcades; the taller, attached building is wrapped in sculptural concrete window hoods that bring geometric patterning to the campus skyline.

As detailed in ADA’s exhibition, Luckman’s vision is significant because the system CLA refined uses the humble markers of small-scale architecture to designate entrances, create shared qualities between structures, and frame views of the campus and surrounding landscape to the benefit of larger buildings. That modern architecture of the time espoused these qualities is often forgotten in the glimmer of the more abstract and singular Palm Springs–style Modernism that is so popular today.

Because of this and other efforts across California’s public universities, UCSB’s campus planning and architecture stand alongside the state’s cookie-cutter suburbs as some of the chief products of its post–World War II economic and social transformations. That is partially by design, as Pereira, Luckman, and others worked in both planning and design across the state during this era—pursuing new visions in different arenas.

In presenting this pioneering body of work and its ability to adapt over time, the exhibition also provided a unique lesson about the potential of midcentury urban planning to gracefully absorb change, a quality readymade in some other designs. A key lesson is that Luckman’s plans continue to succeed today because they were built on the campus’s earlier visions; accommodations were made for history, height, and size, concerns that would only increase in coming decades and are now ever-present.

Lastly, UCSB Campus Architecture was a timely analysis—with the current century fully underway, the UC system is once again set to expand. Across the state, university campuses are making changes to boost enrollment and housing offerings. UCSB itself is slated to add 5,000 students and housing for 1,600 students and faculty to its campus over the next eight years.

We can only hope that a century from now, a new exhibition probing these contemporary approaches will be as rich and fruitful as UCSB Campus Architecture.

UCSB Campus Architecture: Design and Social Change Art, Design & Architecture Museum University of California, Santa Barbara January 13 – December 2, 2018
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LOHA, SOM, and Kevin Daly Architects collaborate on new student housing at UCSB

The University of California, Santa Barbara’s (UCSB) new San Joaquin Villages by Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA), Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM), and Kevin Daly Architects (KDA) opened to student residents during the fall 2017 semester. The expansive project brings over 1,000 student beds and a string of campus amenities clustered around open courtyards to the housing-starved university’s North Campus. The village master plan was created by SOM, which also completed the new  Tenaya Towers—a pair of six-story housing blocks—to create 65 new, three-bedroom, two-bath apartments. For the project, SOM designed a pair of parallel towers that are oriented east-to-west that are studded with projecting balconies to help maintain passive airflow and enrich student life. SOM also added a new freestanding pavilion to a plaza located between the two towers that will contain study spaces and a recreation room. In addition, the towers are outfitted with rooftop terraces overlooking the public spaces below. The project also includes a new dinning commons by architects KieranTimberlake. The project site was reworked by landscape architect Tom Leader and Sherwood Design Engineers—which provided civil engineering and site design—to redirect stormwater runoff into new biofiltration planters and bioswales that will purify the captured water before draining it into adjacent wetlands. The adjacent North Village site is carved up into four principal parcels, with LOHA and KDA each taking two sites to create a patchwork of low-rise, interconnected housing blocks. The intentionally utilitarian accommodations are linked by acrobatic exterior circulation and shared student amenity spaces, like a handsome laundromat outfitted with operable awning windows and a spare, wood fin-clad organic market. Together, these areas bring 107 three-bedroom, two-bath apartments to UCSB. Lorcan O’Herlihy, principal at LOHA, said, “UCSB dormitories have typically pushed circulation to their exterior envelope, with an inert central courtyard accessible only from within the building. [Our] design inverts this circulation scheme, [creating] a reductive exterior edge with an open, lively interior courtyard containing all building circulation, encouraging movement throughout the complex.” The grouped structures are made up of shifting, canted geometries and are clad alternately in corrugated metal panels, wood fins, and stucco along the exterior, campus-facing areas. The LOHA-designed blocks feature painted plaster walls along the courtyard exposures. Social hubs—including reading rooms, social spaces, and dining facilities—float around the complex, projecting from second-floor perches in some instances, tucked snugly below elevated walkways in others. The units themselves are designed with passive ventilation in mind, and windows are wrapped in both vertical and shaped aluminum sunshades, depending on the orientation and structure. Overall, the multifaceted project updates campus housing, deeply embedding shared social experiences into campus life through simple ornamentation and permeability.
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UCSB Names Dream Team For New Student Housing Complex

  Why can't every school be like the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB)? First it's located on a lush, sun-soaked site overlooking the Pacific Ocean. And then this: the school just named a team led by SOM and including Daly Genik, Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects, Kieran Timberlake and WRNS Studios to design the San Joaquin Apartments, a new student housing complex. The project will include two apartment buildings housing a total of 1,000 students; a 600 car mixed-use parking structure; a new dining commons and a renovated 78,000 square foot neighborhood center. Other big names on the shortlist had included Brooks+Scarpa, Machado and Silvetti, AC Martin, Stanley Saitowitz, Lake Flato, Moore Ruble Yudell, Frederick Fisher and Partners, and several more. Stay tuned for info and images in the coming months.  
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UCSB Shortlist Has All The Big Names

Yes, things are slow these days, so we're looking at every RFP we can. One of the biggest in Southern California is for the new San Joaquin Apartments at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), which will include two buildings housing 1,000 students as well as a revitalized neighborhood center. The RFP was issued in June, and we just got our hands on the shortlist, which was posted on August 26. The winner should be announced very shortly. Below are the finalists, including some very impressive names. AC Martin;  Carrier Johnson + CULTURE; David Baker + Partners and Brooks + Scarpa Architects;  Hornberger + Worstell and Lake Flato; KieranTimberlake; Koning Eizenberg Architecture; M+M Creative Studio; LMS Architects and DesignARC; Machado and Silvetti Associates and Cearnal Adrulaitis; Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners; RBB Architects Inc. and Frederick Fisher and Partners Architects;  Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Stanley Saitowitz/ Natoma Architects Inc.; STUDIOS Architecture; Wolf Architecture.