- Environmental Graphics + Signage:Bowyer, Emily Desai
- Structural Engineer:DCI Engineers
- Lighting Designer:Syska Hennessy Group Robert Fagnant
- Mechanical, Electrical + Plumbing Engineer:Syska Hennessy Group
- Acoustical Engineer:VSA & Associates
- Leed Consultant:Green Fields Consulting
- Custom Furniture:Christopher James Gay Designs
- Original Architect:Deems, Lewis, Martin 1964
- Leed Rating:Gold CI, Gold, CI
- Architects In Charge:Kevin deFreitas, Manish Desai
- City:San Diego
- Country:United States
Text description provided by the architects. This project involved adaptively repurposing a local University’s 1960’s era library into a new diverse mixed-use program. 30,000 s.f. of the former reading room and book stack areas were transformed to accommodate a new 420 seat lecture auditorium, a pair of student study halls, three theatre & dance practice studios, shared conference rooms, faculty offices, new ADA restrooms and typ. support spaces.
Respecting the original mid-century design, layers of dated remodel work was removed to expose the building’s concrete structure, specifically the beautiful waffle slab. There were several existing constraints that the new lecture hall had to accommodate, a confined 70’ square footprint in plan, the necessity of connecting the upper and lower floor plates, and somehow working around the oddly rotated free-standing elevator. Taking this context into consideration it made sense to pinch the plan like an hour glass and construct the walls slightly out of plumb to incorporate the elevator and to allow the abundant natural day-light from the skylights to wash down to all areas of the floors below. This move not only improved the quality of the space, it also dramatically reduced energy consumption while also enhancing the acoustical performance of the auditorium and adjacent interior spaces.
The constructability of this renovation was further complicated by the fact that the floors below the project were fully occupied during the entire construction process. This meant vital systems had to stay “live” despite being relocated, upgraded, and reconfigured. Essentially building a tall-masted ship inside a bottle, the design team had to devise a way to construct the new lecture hall structure inside the shell of the existing building with all the materials and equipment having to fit through a 9’ tall by 30’ wide opening of removed storefront. University classes scheduled in the space well in advance dictated a tight delivery schedule of only six months.
Where your eyes go, so goes the rest of you! With this in mind the material palette, textures, lighting, and splashes of color are strategically placed to draw users through the building. Visible from the entry, and nearly everywhere else inside, the tall abstracted stainless blades of grass anchor the central light well creating a point of reference and help users intuitively navigate the space. The white auditorium walls are clad in a custom break-metal geometric pattern, which riffs on mid-century era shadow blocks, subtly marking the passage of time as the sun’s movement changes the tone-on-tone color throughout the day.
This re-energized interior is bright, airy, dynamic, and comfortable, meant to feel more like a living room than a laboratory; a terrific place for students and faculty to engage, discuss, practice, and learn.
Product Description. The porcelanosa tiles in matte white were used to capture the subtle variations of natural light that moved throughout the day, adding warmth, texture, and a reference to time-