HKS and Clark Construction to Design-Build New Living and Learning Neighborhood on University of California San Diego Campus

The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) has selected HKS and Clark Construction to lead the design-build of its Living and Learning Neighborhood at North Torrey Pines. The neighborhood will fulfill UCSD’s vision of a fully integrated university community by blending student housing, academic buildings, research laboratories, classrooms and community space to create a truly immersive learning experience. HKS is the lead Design Architect and the Architect of Record, and other team members include associate design firm Safdie Rabines Architects and landscape architect OJB.

“Innovative universities – like many leading urban centers – are transforming their campuses into vibrant mixed-use neighborhoods. The Living and Learning Neighborhood will be among the most progressive campuses in the country, as it will offer students, faculty and visitors a truly integrated experience,” said David Harper, HKS principal and global higher education sector leader. “Unlike many traditional universities that silo academic, residential and administrative facilities into separate areas on campus, we are fusing together all aspects of the university experience – living, learning, socializing and working – into a single environment.”

Prominently positioned at the center of the UCSD campus, the Living and Learning Neighborhood will house 2,000 students and feature seven new mixed-use buildings. Each building will house a combination of living, learning, community and administrative facilities and offer expansive terraces and outdoor spaces. Additional features include parking for 1,200 vehicles and extensive outdoor space, like pedestrian and bike-friendly pathways. The vibrant community will be the new home for UCSD’s Sixth College, as well as the university’s Social Sciences and Arts and Humanities departments.

“Learning doesn’t just occur inside a classroom. Learning happens everywhere – in a stairway, on the lawn or inside the dining hall,” said Harper. “The North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood maximizes the opportunity for chance encounters between students and faculty.”

To further build community, each building will have a strong and unique identity and offer students more than 15 living options. Residences will feature extensive common areas, access to outdoor spaces and vertical connectivity to adjacent floors, as well as creating unique multi-level “houses” within the residential communities.

“One of our primary design goals was to foster engagement at all levels. We created a dense, but very open and welcoming campus, where everyone – students, faculty, administrators and visitors – will feel a deep sense of belonging,” said Thom Greving, HKS associate principal and design director. “We paid careful attention to the scale of the buildings and incorporated extensive outdoor spaces to create a welcoming neighborhood culture. Camp Snoopy, the current home of Sixth College, has a rich tradition that will be accommodated in the new campus.”

The North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood will also support UC San Diego’s dedication to sustainability. Designed for LEED Platinum certification, the campus takes full advantage of the southern California climate by maximizing outdoor space at multiple levels. All residential buildings are naturally ventilated, and other sustainable features include an aerobic digester that will process food waste into electricity and fertilizer for the community gardens, as well as a photovoltaic system to power the parking structure, which is expected to be net-zero.

“Sustainability and wellness are embedded in UC San Diego’s culture,” said Greving. “Everyone will experience the university’s commitment to sustainability from the moment they step foot on the new campus.”

Design efforts for the Living and Learning Neighborhood are underway; construction will begin in summer 2018. The project is slated for completion in time for the fall 2020 semester.

HKS is a team of more than 1,350 architects, interior designers, urban designers, scientists, artists, anthropologists and other professionals working together across industries and across the globe to create places that delight, heal and stimulate peak performance. The firm has nurtured a culture of extraordinary people with curious and creative minds who are passionate about delivering elegant solutions. HKS has a dedicated research team that digs deep to discover processes and ideas that improve outcomes for everyone. In everything HKS does, it is mindful of the fragility of all life and of the planet. For more information, contact Julie Obiala at [email protected].