This is the future of campus life at UC San Diego. More than just buildings, the North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood is a whole new dynamic. “The neighborhood will be a live, learn and play community,” says Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla, “connecting our campus with the entire San Diego region, inviting one and all to engage and enjoy all of our cultural and intellectual offerings.”
With enrollment expected to top 40,000 within the next five years, the neighborhood is part of a master plan to meet student housing goals and guarantee four years of campus accommodation to all students who want it. “As we bring more students to UC San Diego, we must plan for everything needed to support them,” says Gary Matthews, vice chancellor of resource management and planning. “We need to continue creating great spaces for people to learn, live and interact.”
The neighborhood represents UC San Diego’s vision for the future: a combination of residential housing and classroom space, dining halls and outdoor recreation, a new Craft Center, subterranean parking, and an array of retail and entertainment venues. At its heart, however, is community.
Since its opening in 2001, students of Sixth College have resided at Pepper Canyon’s “Camp Snoopy,” a set of quaint buildings around a quad reminiscent of summer camp. The North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood will provide a new, permanent home for the UC San Diego’s youngest college, with 2,000 new beds and a dining hall, as well as residential support facilities, an administration building and the college provost’s office. The neighborhood will welcome its first residents when construction is complete in fall 2020.
To further build community, each building will have a strong and unique identity and offer students several different living options. Residences will feature extensive common areas and vertical connectivity to adjacent floors, creating unique multilevel “houses” within the community.
And since life in San Diego goes well beyond the indoors, the neighborhood is being planned for thoughtfully designed open space and public realm improvements, including the connection of Ridge Walk as a complete north-south campus pedestrian thoroughfare.
“There will be plenty of places to socialize and relax as well as pedestrian and bike-friendly pathways and elements,” says Matthew Smith, project manager and architect with UC San Diego Capital Program Management. “Enhancing movement of people and bikes through the campus core rather than on to the surrounding streets is an ongoing goal for the university, which development of this neighborhood will help us achieve.”
Art and humanities are the cornerstones of culture, while our social sciences embrace innovative, nontraditional approaches to enhance the public landscape. The new neighborhood will provide a permanent home for these two academic divisions and will bridge them both—figuratively and literally—to foster innovative collaboration and encourage the exchange of ideas.
Known as the Public Engagement Building, Social Sciences’ space will be anchored by the Urban Studies and Planning Program, Department of Education Studies, and CREATE—the Center for Research on Educational Equity, Assessment and Teaching Excellence. “We envision a hub where our faculty, students and the broader community can work together to generate ideas about quality of education and quality of life,” says Division of Social Sciences Dean Carol Padden, MA ’80, PhD ’83. “Our goal is to sustain healthy neighborhoods throughout the San Diego region and grow high-quality schools.”
The new Arts and Humanities building will mark the first time all three humanities departments—History, Literature and Philosophy—will be housed in the same space. “The humanities train all students to think critically, express creatively and communicate clearly,” says Division of Arts and Humanities Dean Cristina Della Coletta. “We are thrilled that this new structure will create a physical hub for the generation of theories and ideas that evolve through dialogue, discussion and reinterpretation with partners on and off campus.”
Community buildings will make up the core of the neighborhood—indoor and outdoor spaces that together create a “living room” for the new community. Highlights include a concert-caliber auditorium adjacent to Ridge Walk that will be a vibrant public space for performances and exhibits.
The neighborhood will also be home to a new and immensely upgraded Craft Center at UC San Diego, offering a wide variety of experiential classes and programs for students, staff, faculty and members of the community. Reviving the ethos of the original Craft Center—which closed after 40 years in 2012—the neighborhood will reinvigorate that sense of discovery and artistry, connecting campus and the community via the spirit of creation.
A mix of classrooms, dedicated studios, and facilities with specialized equipment such as kilns, ovens and printing presses will make up the space, adding the architectural flexibility to accommodate new interests, like surfboard shaping, cooking and book arts, while remaining close to its roots in the past.
NICE! But what about…
A new underground structure will provide approximately 1,200 parking spaces at the North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood—230 more than the previous Muir parking lots. And with an eye on the future, the garage is being constructed so that some space can later convert to classrooms and offices in the event that driverless cars, biking and ride- sharing apps reduce the need for parking spots in the future.
The neighborhood will highlight UC San Diego’s commitment to being green with key elements like photovoltaic cells to power the garage, low-water-use landscaping, and energy conserving lighting and fixtures. Dining halls will also use anaerobic digesters to turn food waste into fertilizer for community gardens and even provide green energy.
› That weird bubble building?
The khaki igloo known as “The Bubble” housed the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Resource Group and five spectrometers powered by a giant superconducting magnet—hence the steel-free structure. The instruments aid drug development and discovery by producing high-res images of proteins, right down to the atom. The group’s home will now be in the new Tata Hall for the Sciences.