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University of California, Santa Barbara Student Resource Building

The student resources building consolidates key student services, while fostering the university’s goals for diversity and equality. The building’s design maintains a high degree of openness and transparency, creating an energetic facility with a welcoming atmosphere that encourages interaction and community-building between the diverse student groups, faculty, and staff.

The 69,500 gsf, LEED® silver certified building is located on a main corridor – the primary east-west pedestrian and bicycle path. It is a component of the major arrival gateway that connects the adjacent residential community to the core campus.

Upon entering the building, one is engaged by the vibrancy of student life, with daylight decanting through the clerestory windows and reflecting off the yellow ceiling plane of the Forum, further enlivening the dynamic atmosphere. Having become the heart of student life at the university, the building is a “living room” for people to meet, study, and socialize.

Since its opening in 2007, the student resources building has become a community hub and source of campus pride that reflects the diverse interests of its users. The LEED® Silver-certified building was the result of close collaboration between the design team and the student body, which voted to increase its fees to fund a $21 million, 69,500 square foot building dedicated to student organizations. The students requested a colorful, contemporary space to house a variety of departments and resource centers, including the Women’s Center, Campus Learning and Assistance Services, a Child Care Center and the American Indian Center.

The building is comprised of two three-story wings flanking a vertical Forum space. Designed to be the center of activity, the Forum visually and physically connects resources on all floors to encourage interaction. Students and staff routinely gather on the open metal bridges traversing the Forum while wood screens create selective privacy zones. This open area also plays a key role in the building’s natural ventilation system, drawing air through the floors and out the clerestory.

The Forum opens to the Multi-Purpose Room – an organic, oval form inflecting towards the entry to contrast with the refined geometry of the north and south wings. The Multi-Purpose Room in turn opens to a “free-speech” plaza which transforms into a loggia-like staging area for celebrations and public events.

A grove of trees is planted to the south to cool the prevailing breezes entering the building and to buffer the Child Care Center from the heavily-traveled bicycle paths. The grove and garden create a quiet contrast to the active public piazza and “front yard” space north of the building.

Inspired by nature and cultural arts, the designers selected a color palette that echoes the building’s vibrant programming. Decanting through clerestory windows, daylight reflects off of a cadmium yellow ceiling, while the building’s transparency engages passersby with an open view of the nearly dozen colors on its interior accent walls. The bright, lightweight furniture was selected for its ease of movement, offering students the ability to control the spaces they inhabit.

Sustainability was a resolute goal for the project and every effort was made to promote a healthy environment. The building mass is oriented in an ideal configuration for day-lighting, climate control, and natural ventilation. Interior materials include engineered stone flooring with high recycled content, rubber flooring, carpet tiles with post-industrial nylon content, low VOC paints, FSC certified woods, highly recycled acoustical tiles (used only where necessary), and furniture upholstery composed of wool and recycled nylons. According to the Title 24 -2001 energy cost comparison, the Proposed Building Annual Energy Use is an impressive 15.1% less than the Standard Energy Budget for Building.

Placed at a major campus intersection, the building is a component of the arrival gateway that connects the adjacent residential community to the core campus. Everyday, more than 10,000 students, staff, and faculty approach the campus from this direction and use it as their “living room” to meet, study, and socialize.

Narrative for “Saving By Design” Awards

From the start, the student-funded project was designed with sustainability and LEED® certification as goals with key measures as follows:

Building Energy Efficiency

  • Daylight is maximized for more than 75% of the building through the building’s use of narrow floor plates, large expanses of north-facing glass, high indoor volumes, and the Forum’s clerestory windows
  • Operable windows along the south façade and the Forum clerestory windows enhance and increase the natural ventilation through the building
  • Windows on the south-facing façade are operable, with exterior sunshades to manage heat gain and glare
  • A unique passive ventilation smoke exhaust system for the Forum uses a roof-mounted weather station to tune the operation of the clerestory windows
  • The HVAC system is connected to the campus chilled water loop, eliminating the need for cooling towers
  • Covered porches outside the Child Care classrooms provide strong indoor outdoor connections, natural light, and protected outdoor spaces
  • The Forum and Child Care Center employ under-floor radiant heating systems

Integrated and Protected Environment and Water Resources

  • The building replaces an existing parking lot and serves as an important connection between the campus and the adjacent off-campus residential community (moved to a new parking structure north of the building)
  • Pedestrian and bicycle traffic is encouraged through dedicated pathways and bicycle routes. The project consolidates parking for more than three hundred bicycles.
  • The landscape design features drought tolerant, native plants
  • The plants in the Native American Garden were grown at the University from seeds collected from native species on and around the campus
  • The Child Care Center garden reduces heat island effects and enhances natural ventilation
  • Trees and shrubs are a mixture of native and non-native including some uncommon conifers
  • Pervious paving (turf pavers) is used in fire lanes to foster rainwater permeability
  • A grove of Jacaranda trees south of the building helps cool the prevailing breezes entering the building
  • Reclaimed water is used for a majority of the irrigation, with potable water used in the children’s play area only
  • Efficient plumbing fixtures include waterless urinals, timer faucets, and dual flush toilets

Interior Finishes and Materials

  • Exposed concrete walls and ceilings limit the need for secondary finishes
  • Engineered stone floor tiles for the Forum have a long-lifespan and are composed of recycled waste; the floor requires no waxing or polishing and reduces daily maintenance
  • High post-industrial recycled content carpet tiles with recyclable backing is reduces waste and requires less adhesives to install
  • Low VOC paints are used throughout the building
  • Maple wood screens are manufactured with FSC-certified wood
  • High recycled content ceiling tiles are used in limited spaces to hide exposed HVAC ductwork and to enhance acoustical performance
  • Furniture textiles consist of natural wool and recycled post-consumer nylon

Notable Accomplishments

  • LEED® Silver-certified building

Award Credit

University of California,
Santa Barbara
Ms. Yonie Harris
2201 Student Affairs & Admin Services Bldg.
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
Atila Zekioglu
2440 South Sepulveda Boulevard
Suite 180
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Landscape Architect
Tim Deacon, ASLA, LEED®
77 Geary St, 4th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94108
General Contractor
Rogers Quinn Construction
3194 Lionshead Avenue
Carlsbad, CA 92010
Civil Engineer
Penfield & Smith
Lighting Designer
Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design
Technology & AV Consultant
Robert Benson
Robert Benson Photography
Greg Hursley
Hursley Photography

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