Contract - Collective Conscience

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Collective Conscience

01 June, 2009

-By Holly Richmond, Photography by Robert Benson



When words like "extraordinary," "miraculous," and "mind-blowing" are used to describe an interior, people tend to take note. That is exactly what Yolanda Garcia, assistant vice chancellor for student academic support services at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), says is happening on campus with regard to the new Student Resource Building (SRB). "I don't hesitate for a second to say that this building goes beyond our wildest dreams," she says. "It is the place to be."

 Designed by the San Francisco office of Sasaki Associates, the LEED-Silver, 69,500-sq.-ft building was created with students in mind. The firm collaborated with students, who voted to increase their fees to self-fund a building dedicated to student organizations. "From the start there was an enormous sense of collective purpose. Our goal was to provide a space that brought diverse groups together in a way that was functional, productive, and aesthetically dynamic," remarks Richard Tepp, the project's lead interior architect and Sasaki's director of interiors.

Not only does the SRB bring nearly 20 student affairs departments and resource centers together under one roof—including the Office of Student Life and programs ranging from Sexual and Gender Diversity to La Raza, an international group for Hispanic students—but the transparent design also encourages interaction and collaboration. "We worked in old WWII barracks and cargo containers before the building was complete. It was not a good situation when it rained!" Garcia recalls. "Now students' needs are met in one central location, and students and staff can easily utilize each other's expertise."

While the building was designed to unite a diverse student population, it also serves as a crossroads between UCSB and the neighboring city of Isla Vista. More than 10,000 students pass between campus and the community daily, with the SRB as the first-stop location, reinforced by the accessibility of student services and popularity as a student gathering space. Scott Smith, Sasaki's design principal, explains that the design mimics the diversity of the building's services and students who utilize them. "Creating transparency and fostering human connection was essential. We dissolved the walls as much as possible, which offers an element of 'theater' in the facility, giving it a 'see and be seen' quality," he says.

To this point, the SRB compromises two, three-story wings flanking a vertical glass volume, called the Forum, which serves as a community living room. The Forum visually and physically connects all floors through open metal bridges and expansive stairways. Entering the Forum, one is engaged by the space's vibrancy, with daylight decanting through clerestory windows and reflecting off the cadmium yellow ceiling plane. The Forum also plays a key role in the building's natural ventilation system, drawing air through the floors and out the clerestory windows. "I can't emphasize enough how important sustainability was to the students and staff involved in the design process," says Vitas Viskanta, Sasaki's project manager. "Particularly in the Forum, everything from operable louvres, pivot windows, and doors to the use of concrete, which minimized other material usage, were employed to secure that goal."

The Forum opens to the Multi-Purpose Room, which boasts an organic, oval form inflecting toward the entry and contrasting with the refined concrete and steel geometry of the north and south wings. Designed primarily for dance purposes, but now used for wellness fairs and other functions, the room opens to a "free speech" plaza on the Pardall Corridor to become a loggia-like staging area for celebrations and other public events.

Facing the Pardall Corridor, the ground floor level of the north wing contains resource rooms and meeting spaces for student groups with storefront entrances mimicking those of the nearby Isla Vista community. The upper floors feature highly transparent metal and glass scrim to invite daylight and to exhibit indoor and outdoor activities. The south wing is clad in lightweight masonry tile rain-screen. Small, horizontal punched windows are set deep into the walls, equipped with exterior sunshades to control the south sun. "We call the SRB the 'Student Affairs Cathedral' because there is so much going on all the time from fundraisers to banquets to study groups, all bathed in fabulous natural light," says Garcia. "It's an outreach post to be sure."

Tepp notes that the interior was inspired by nature in its most vibrant incarnation, notably the perpetually sunny Santa Barbara weather, as well as the bright blue Pacific ocean, which saturates the building's western vista. "The color palette is undeniably bright, which was an initial challenge for the faculty and staff, but they soon agreed that the building is for students, and that they would thrive in such a vibrant space." Tepp explains that the building's cadmium yellow ceiling represents the sun, while the exterior yellow canopy gives it a landmark quality.

"To say the building is well-used would be a vast understatement," says Garcia. "It's a communion of students, staff, faculty, and resources, as well as a communion with nature and the environment. The design serves our mission, and our mission serves the design."


who
Project: UCSB Student Resource Building. Client: University of California, Santa Barbara. Architect: Sasaki Associates Inc.; Scott Smith, principal-in-charge; Vitas Viskanta, project manager; Pat Sonnino, Strachan Forgan, Evan Jacob, Architects. Interior designer: Sasaki Associates Inc. Richard Tepp, interior architect; Laura Greenberg, Lauren Springer, interior designers. Structural/mechanical/electrical engineer, acoustician: Arup. General contractor: RQ Construction. Lighting designer: Horton Lees Brogden. Furniture dealer: BKM Office Environments. Photographer: Robert Benson Photography.

what
Paint: Frazee. Laminate: Wilsonart, Abet Laminati. Dry wall: USG. Flooring: Stone Italiana, Ecotimber, Buchtal Tile, RCA Rubber. Carpet/carpet tile: InterfaceFlor Commercial, Shaw. Carpet fiber: Solutia Ultron Renew 6,6; Shaw Eco Solution Q. Carpet backing: Interface MoistureGard Enhanced, Shaw Ecoworx. Ceiling: Armstrong. Lighting: Finelite, Bega, Winona, Zumtobel, Exterior Vert, Williams, Birchwood, Columbia, Advent, Artemide, Focal Point, Alcko. Doors: VT Industries, Custom. Door hardware: McKinney, Schlage, Richard Wilcox, Rixson, LCN, Von Durpin, Adams Rite, Ives, Pemko. Glass: PPG. Window frames: Exterior: Efco, Hope. Interior: Wilson Partitions. Window treatments: Mechoshade, Designtex. Railings: Custom. Students’ desks: Keilhauer, Vecta. Students' seating: Keilhauer, Kartell, Vitra. Administrative desks/seating, office shelving, files: Steelcase. Lounge seating: Brayton, Cartwright, Neinkamper, Peter Pepper, Charter, ICF. Cafeteria, dining, auditorium seating: Keilhauer, Vitra. Cafeteria, dining, training tables: Vecta, Knoll. Seating upholstery: Designtex, Maharam, Instyle, Momentum, Unika Vaev. Library and conference seating: Lowenstein, Vecta, Steelcase. Library and conference tables: Vecta. Library shelves: Custom wood casework. Other tables: Sandback Fabrication, Allermuir. Architectural woodworking/cabinetmaking: K&Z Cabinet Co. Planters, accessories: Peter Pepper. Signage: Custom. Elevators: ThyssenKrupp. HVAC: Carrier, Alliance, Titus. Fire safety: Pyro-comm. Building management system: Johnson Controls. Plumbing fixtures: Kohler, Bradley, Just.

where
Location: Santa Barbara, Calif. Total floor area: 69,500 sq. ft. No. of floors: 3. Floor size: 29,590 first floor, 20,160 second floor, 18,563 third floor. Student capacity: 800. Cost/sq. ft: $300.




Collective Conscience

01 June, 2009


Robert Benson

When words like "extraordinary," "miraculous," and "mind-blowing" are used to describe an interior, people tend to take note. That is exactly what Yolanda Garcia, assistant vice chancellor for student academic support services at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), says is happening on campus with regard to the new Student Resource Building (SRB). "I don't hesitate for a second to say that this building goes beyond our wildest dreams," she says. "It is the place to be."

 Designed by the San Francisco office of Sasaki Associates, the LEED-Silver, 69,500-sq.-ft building was created with students in mind. The firm collaborated with students, who voted to increase their fees to self-fund a building dedicated to student organizations. "From the start there was an enormous sense of collective purpose. Our goal was to provide a space that brought diverse groups together in a way that was functional, productive, and aesthetically dynamic," remarks Richard Tepp, the project's lead interior architect and Sasaki's director of interiors.

Not only does the SRB bring nearly 20 student affairs departments and resource centers together under one roof—including the Office of Student Life and programs ranging from Sexual and Gender Diversity to La Raza, an international group for Hispanic students—but the transparent design also encourages interaction and collaboration. "We worked in old WWII barracks and cargo containers before the building was complete. It was not a good situation when it rained!" Garcia recalls. "Now students' needs are met in one central location, and students and staff can easily utilize each other's expertise."

While the building was designed to unite a diverse student population, it also serves as a crossroads between UCSB and the neighboring city of Isla Vista. More than 10,000 students pass between campus and the community daily, with the SRB as the first-stop location, reinforced by the accessibility of student services and popularity as a student gathering space. Scott Smith, Sasaki's design principal, explains that the design mimics the diversity of the building's services and students who utilize them. "Creating transparency and fostering human connection was essential. We dissolved the walls as much as possible, which offers an element of 'theater' in the facility, giving it a 'see and be seen' quality," he says.

To this point, the SRB compromises two, three-story wings flanking a vertical glass volume, called the Forum, which serves as a community living room. The Forum visually and physically connects all floors through open metal bridges and expansive stairways. Entering the Forum, one is engaged by the space's vibrancy, with daylight decanting through clerestory windows and reflecting off the cadmium yellow ceiling plane. The Forum also plays a key role in the building's natural ventilation system, drawing air through the floors and out the clerestory windows. "I can't emphasize enough how important sustainability was to the students and staff involved in the design process," says Vitas Viskanta, Sasaki's project manager. "Particularly in the Forum, everything from operable louvres, pivot windows, and doors to the use of concrete, which minimized other material usage, were employed to secure that goal."

The Forum opens to the Multi-Purpose Room, which boasts an organic, oval form inflecting toward the entry and contrasting with the refined concrete and steel geometry of the north and south wings. Designed primarily for dance purposes, but now used for wellness fairs and other functions, the room opens to a "free speech" plaza on the Pardall Corridor to become a loggia-like staging area for celebrations and other public events.

Facing the Pardall Corridor, the ground floor level of the north wing contains resource rooms and meeting spaces for student groups with storefront entrances mimicking those of the nearby Isla Vista community. The upper floors feature highly transparent metal and glass scrim to invite daylight and to exhibit indoor and outdoor activities. The south wing is clad in lightweight masonry tile rain-screen. Small, horizontal punched windows are set deep into the walls, equipped with exterior sunshades to control the south sun. "We call the SRB the 'Student Affairs Cathedral' because there is so much going on all the time from fundraisers to banquets to study groups, all bathed in fabulous natural light," says Garcia. "It's an outreach post to be sure."

Tepp notes that the interior was inspired by nature in its most vibrant incarnation, notably the perpetually sunny Santa Barbara weather, as well as the bright blue Pacific ocean, which saturates the building's western vista. "The color palette is undeniably bright, which was an initial challenge for the faculty and staff, but they soon agreed that the building is for students, and that they would thrive in such a vibrant space." Tepp explains that the building's cadmium yellow ceiling represents the sun, while the exterior yellow canopy gives it a landmark quality.

"To say the building is well-used would be a vast understatement," says Garcia. "It's a communion of students, staff, faculty, and resources, as well as a communion with nature and the environment. The design serves our mission, and our mission serves the design."


who
Project: UCSB Student Resource Building. Client: University of California, Santa Barbara. Architect: Sasaki Associates Inc.; Scott Smith, principal-in-charge; Vitas Viskanta, project manager; Pat Sonnino, Strachan Forgan, Evan Jacob, Architects. Interior designer: Sasaki Associates Inc. Richard Tepp, interior architect; Laura Greenberg, Lauren Springer, interior designers. Structural/mechanical/electrical engineer, acoustician: Arup. General contractor: RQ Construction. Lighting designer: Horton Lees Brogden. Furniture dealer: BKM Office Environments. Photographer: Robert Benson Photography.

what
Paint: Frazee. Laminate: Wilsonart, Abet Laminati. Dry wall: USG. Flooring: Stone Italiana, Ecotimber, Buchtal Tile, RCA Rubber. Carpet/carpet tile: InterfaceFlor Commercial, Shaw. Carpet fiber: Solutia Ultron Renew 6,6; Shaw Eco Solution Q. Carpet backing: Interface MoistureGard Enhanced, Shaw Ecoworx. Ceiling: Armstrong. Lighting: Finelite, Bega, Winona, Zumtobel, Exterior Vert, Williams, Birchwood, Columbia, Advent, Artemide, Focal Point, Alcko. Doors: VT Industries, Custom. Door hardware: McKinney, Schlage, Richard Wilcox, Rixson, LCN, Von Durpin, Adams Rite, Ives, Pemko. Glass: PPG. Window frames: Exterior: Efco, Hope. Interior: Wilson Partitions. Window treatments: Mechoshade, Designtex. Railings: Custom. Students’ desks: Keilhauer, Vecta. Students' seating: Keilhauer, Kartell, Vitra. Administrative desks/seating, office shelving, files: Steelcase. Lounge seating: Brayton, Cartwright, Neinkamper, Peter Pepper, Charter, ICF. Cafeteria, dining, auditorium seating: Keilhauer, Vitra. Cafeteria, dining, training tables: Vecta, Knoll. Seating upholstery: Designtex, Maharam, Instyle, Momentum, Unika Vaev. Library and conference seating: Lowenstein, Vecta, Steelcase. Library and conference tables: Vecta. Library shelves: Custom wood casework. Other tables: Sandback Fabrication, Allermuir. Architectural woodworking/cabinetmaking: K&Z Cabinet Co. Planters, accessories: Peter Pepper. Signage: Custom. Elevators: ThyssenKrupp. HVAC: Carrier, Alliance, Titus. Fire safety: Pyro-comm. Building management system: Johnson Controls. Plumbing fixtures: Kohler, Bradley, Just.

where
Location: Santa Barbara, Calif. Total floor area: 69,500 sq. ft. No. of floors: 3. Floor size: 29,590 first floor, 20,160 second floor, 18,563 third floor. Student capacity: 800. Cost/sq. ft: $300.

 


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