Inside, Out

Design and Innovation Building will show what goes on inside.

In the summer of 2021, when you look through the tall windows of the forthcoming Design and Innovation Building, you’ll find groups of students making a mess. It will be loud, lively and disruptive, but that’s all part of the process. They will be leaning in and working hard, sketching, cutting, prototyping, wiring and rewiring, and finding a solution together. That’s what innovation is at UC San Diego, and it will soon on display front and center, right on the university’s newest doorstep.

“The Design and Innovation Building will be a window into what’s happening on this campus, literally,” says Joel King, UC San Diego’s campus architect. “The building’s large glass windows and placement near the Blue Line station are meant to showcase what we’re all about. And even if you stay on the light rail, you’ll still see everything at eye-level as you glide by campus.”

The new 74,000-square-foot building will be an extension of the Structural and Mechanical Engineering building at the rim of Pepper Canyon, and will house metal and wood shops along with cutting-edge makerspaces providing 3D printers, laser cutters and hand tools. The upper two floors will offer additional project spaces and interdisciplinary offices, while a large multipurpose room overlooks the canyon below. Altogether, it will be a showcase of campus collaboration and creativity with students from visual arts, engineering, cognitive science and business working together to create, tinker, invite and discover.

From the outside, the building’s textured metal exterior and asymmetrical angles lend a kinetic composition that complements the energy of the surrounding area—with the light rail breezing past, a street café buzzing with community and an outdoor amphitheater to serve as relaxation or performance space. All of it leads to a new walkway to the center of campus, where students and visitors will experience the academic lectures, concerts and world-class theatrical performances UC San Diego is known for.

“We intend for this campus to be a cultural destination,” says King. “When it’s complete, the Design and Innovation Building and surrounding area will welcome students and visitors and give a glimpse into the cutting-edge innovation that comes from how we think here. It will connect different disciplines, and serve as the heartbeat of UC San Diego—for current and future students, alumni, and the greater San Diego community.”

Learn more about featured UC San Diego construction projects here.