UCSD Price Center East / Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design

Architects: Yazdani Studio
Location: La Jolla, California, USA
Client: University of California, San Diego
Project Team: Mehrdad Yazdani, Design Principal; Craig Hamilton, AIA, LEED AP, Project Principal; Ron Benson, Project Manager; Mark Piaia, AIA, Project Architect; John Chan, Designer, Yan Krymsky, Designer, Manson Fung, Designer, Tommy Yuen, Designer; Jim Peshl, QA/QC, Jack Poulin, IIDA Interior FFE; Hong Gip, Lily Chiu, AIA, LEED AP, Lauren Coles, Frank Maldonado, Mi Sun Lim.
Structural engineer: Englekirk and Sabol
Mechanical Engineer : IBE Consulting Engineers
Electrical engineer: Coffman
Landscape Architect: Pamela Burton & Company
Civil Engineers: Hirsh & Company
Cost Estimators: Cumming LLC
Lighting designer: Lighting Design Alliance
Acoustician: Newson Brown Acoustics, LLC
General contractor: M.A. Mortensen Company
Total floor area: 172,000sf new construction, 66,000sf renovated, 238,000 total sf.
Budget: US $53,000,000
Cost/sq. ft: $223
Photographer: Timothy Hursley

The plan of the University of California at San Diego’s existing student center, the Price Center, was developed with an “introverted” configuration – a central courtyard bordered on three sides by all of the building’s program elements facing inward – that established a powerful sense of place and a hub for dining, socializing, and events. When the university’s growth necessitated an expansion of the Price Center, our solution was to create an “extroverted,” highly permeable addition offering many points of entry and features such as plazas and monumental staircases that engage the building’s surroundings and enrich the street experience.

The 172,000 sf addition expands the bookstore and the space available for retail, foodservice, and student organizations and reinforces the primary pedestrian circulation paths linking the sides of campus. In response to the gradual slope of the site, the addition has two “ground floors,” as does the original Price Center, enhancing the accessibility of both the existing facility and the expansion and maximizing revenue from and synergy among retail and foodservice outlets, all located at grade.


Consistent with the planning goals of the UCSD Master Plan and the University Center Design Guidelines, the addition’s architectural character and multiple points of entry aid the transformation of the surrounding University Center neighborhood into a “town center”: a lively, dense, pedestrian-oriented area with a distinctive urban quality, serving as hub for many different activities and the heart of the campus. In support of the university’s goal of achieving the equivalent of a LEED Silver rating, the project incorporates a number of sustainable design elements.

In the Price Center Expansion, an HVAC system tailored to the microclimate of the La Jolla Mesa uses relief air to serve multiple purposes. Outside air is cooled, filtered, and drawn into office areas, then directed to the building’s large atrium space, and finally vented out through spaces that can operate at higher temperatures, such as mechanical and electrical rooms, cooking facilities, and loading docks. The ventilation of mechanical rooms with relief air from the building protects equipment from ocean moisture and salt without requiring additional filtration. With a capacity 30% below standard, the expansion’s HVAC system was achieved at a first cost of 20% less than a typical San Diego office VAV system – even with the additional ductwork.

Chilled-water control valves dramatically improve the temperature difference between supply and return chilled water, improving the central plant’s efficiency and expanding the capacity of existing equipment. In harmony with the mild climate, the building’s heating system provides heat only in required locations at the building perimeter and capitalizes upon internal heat generated from lighting and other sources. Taken together, the building’s innovations yield an overall energy efficiency that significantly exceeds California Title 24 standards.

Sustainable Features

Sustainable Sites

  • Development of building in existing urban campus preserves greenfields and natural resources
  • 144 bicycle rack spaces and three electric cart recharging ports encourage alternative transportation on campus
  • Building is served by campus bus line accessible from multiple building entries
  • Trees and landscaping shade 30% of nonroof surfaces, reducing heat-island effects
  • Exterior lighting achieves zero direct-beam illumination from site, minimizing night-sky light pollution

Indoor Environmental Quality

  • Displacement ventilation system enhances indoor air quality beyond code minimums
  • Low-VOC construction adhesives, paints, coatings, carpet, composite wood, and agrifiber products preserve indoor air quality
  • Permanent temperature and humidity monitoring system integrated with building’s automation system maintains building zones within comfort setpoints

Materials and Resources

  • Existing Price Center building reused
  • Exterior stone reused
  • 30,000 cubic yards of site-excavated soil reused
  • Linoleum and wood flooring specified from rapidly renewable materials
  • Carpeting incorporates 35% recycled content
  • Construction waste of paper, wood, metal, and separated and recycled by contractor

Energy and Atmosphere

  • Low-velocity air displacement mechanical system outperforms California Title 24 standards
  • Customization of ventilation system to microclimate of La Jolla Mesa reduces system’s first cost
  • Circulation of air throughout entire building increases ventilation system efficiency

Water Efficiency

  • High-efficiency irrigation technology and low-flow fixtures conserve potable water
Cite: "UCSD Price Center East / Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design" 11 Jun 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=24519>
  • http://www.panamarq.wordpress.com PanamArq

    I like the building but could do without the “greenwashed” list of sustainable features. It is very easy to get LEED silver by just following the regular building code.

  • MJ

    boxes & boxes…

  • Kevin

    good job !

  • imagine

    simple, pretty and interesting

  • Nathan

    Looks like Pamela got a pretty sad little landscape budget. Shame, she does nice work.

  • aa4

    Good university project!

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  • Getty Shultz E.

    Nice building.
    A lot of recurses and effort.

  • http://bible.postedpost.com/2009/05/23/sky-stars-healing-meditation/347/designer-lighting-products/ Designer Lighting Products

    On the rooftop there is an infinity pool, a coffee shop, sky garden, poolside bar, barbeque pit, and lounge. Designer Lighting Products

  • Gary

    I work in the building. It’s great but there is no infinity pool, sky garden, or barbeque pit!

    • nicki

      Dude. On the roof there is an infinity pool, a coffee shop, sky garden, poolside bar, and a barbeque pit. Where have YOU been?

  • Georgiana

    Deceptively simple yet innovative…
    And Leed Silver!
    Great project!

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  • anonymous

    This is by far one of the best buildings I have seen on this website. I have been in here and I find it is best to vote for buildings that have ACTUALLY BEEN BUILT. This is a very promising and high class facility. Great Job, Yazdani Studio.

  • liz

    This is a very outstanding building. I have been here and it truly deserves to win. The interior and exterior design is very well-built and the furniture is truly inviting.

  • maggiepoopoo


  • courtney

    I pretty much live in this building and I have nothing but positive things to say about it… many windows, beautiful view, but enough beauty that student’s can concentrate and not be distracted
    very nice interior

    • Chen Bin Fu

      hi ,i’ve got a question that what is thc difference between price center and student center? for activities or mainly for college administration?

  • kambiz

    This is a very nice design. Hamishe Movafagh bashi MRHRDAD joon.

  • steri papachrs

    like this building! very nice design and concept!

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  • afarin

    like this building!movafagh bashid.mishe tamam madarek prozhe hatono ro site gharar bedin chon ma braye kare akhare term az karhaye alie shoma estefade mikonim