University of California, Santa Barbara - Recreation Center Expansion

Santa Barbara, CA
Construction Cost: $12.15 million
Area / Square Feet: 52,820
Occupancy Date: May 2005

Responsive to its site" and "extremely well-integrated." So spoke the judges about the expansion to the University of California, Santa Barbara Recreation Center, which joined an existing recreation and aquatics complex to enclose a 9.5-acre landscaped compound.

The building?s orientation and stepped massing maintain views to the distant mountains and preserve existing live oak trees and a historic eucalyptus grove. The expansion is divided into an academic wing, with spaces linked by a covered tile-walled walkway, and an activity wing featuring a multipurpose activities court, a 30-foot climbing wall and locker rooms. A fitness room transitions the scale between the two wings.

The judges responded positively to the building inside and out, noting the exterior?s response to the distant Santa Ynez Mountains, as well as the interior?s sophisticated use of materials that include heavy timber framing, maple wall panels and glass walls. Special mention was made of sustainable features, such as operable windows that passively ventilate more than 90 percent of the building, which were incorporated into highly functional recreation spaces.

Judge's Comments

Even though the facility is very large, the scale is broken down to a comfortable perception of size. The plan within demonstrates a great circulation pattern and is very easy to understand.
— John Linstaedt

The colors and texture of the exterior reinforce the coastal landscape and the building seems to grow from its surroundings.
— Tom Betti

An interesting layered solution to a multifunction recreation/academic program.
— David Body