University of California Santa Barbara Graduate Housing
Santa Barbara, CA

This project for 976 beds of Graduate Student Housing is a mix of 1-bedroom flats, 1-bedroom studios, 2-bedroom flats and 4-bedroom flats – with significant ancillary support functions including a Community Center and multi-purpose buildings.

The complex is arrayed linearly in 4 groups along El Colegio Road.  The road, given campus development, is to be increased in capacity by the County, and in the process, our design envisions this as a tree-lined esplanade, a revitalized Western entrance to the campus.  The site looks north across the playing fields to 20 acres of green space, and over the wetlands of Goleta Slough with the beautiful Santa Ynez mountains as a backdrop.

In addition to the housing, there will be approximately 730 structured parking spaces in naturally ventilated garages situated beneath 2/3 of the housing.  Environmental sensitivity is a building block for this design, which includes focus on site and water; energy and atmosphere; materials and resources; indoor environmental quality; natural daylighting; and innovation.

Appropriate to this Mediterranean climate, the housing is grouped around a series of courtyards.  Each unit has its own court and the assemblage is arrayed to achieve a series of larger communal courtyards. These are thematically landscaped with examples of the beautiful and bountiful plants native to this part of the state. In this manner, the identification of place is reinforced by the plant material as opposed to becoming a cipher living in a place identified only by street numbers: “Oh, I live in the courtyard of the Oranges.”  “You do? You know, I live in the Olive courtyard and Jennifer lives in the Lime court.”

The garage structures are cast-in-place concrete, the housing elements are all Type 5 wood frame, sheathed in stucco. The heights range from 2 to 4 floors.


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