23 Apr US$78 million Learning Hub expansion underway at UC Santa Barbara
The University of California (UC) Santa Barbara campus has announced that construction has begun on a US$78 million expansion project to add another teaching building to its seaside campus along the “American Riviera.” The 95,000-square-foot project will feature lecture halls, learning spaces, and flexible discussion rooms. The building will be a project-based learning hub for UCSB, comprising 32 classrooms and lecture halls, each of which will be able to handle anywhere from 30 to 350 students each. Directly outside the new learning annex, there will be spaces for nearly 2,000 bicycles to be parked. Also, an exterior “street corridor” will encourage interaction between students and faculty as they walk between and among UCSB’s buildings. Furthermore, views from the upper-floor classroom windows will allow students and faculty views of the nearby UCSB Pardall Mall to the west, Library Mall to the north, and, of course, views of the Pacific Ocean and the offshore Channel Islands to the south.
The project is on the fast track, with a projected completion time of Winter 2022. The new building was designed by LMN Architects of Seattle and was meant to both melds in with the Southern California construction motif as well as take advantage of the natural elements of the surrounding campus area, which abuts the ocean. LMN’s design aims to achieve, at a minimum, LEED Gold certification.
Project executive Tom Jones said that his firm was charged with fashioning a classroom building that would be a major nexus of educational activity at the heart of the campus. “Leveraging our expertise in higher education, we recognize the need to create a dynamic environment that not only emphasizes academic inquiry for students but also fosters interpersonal connections that inspire scholarly ambition, creativity, and discoveries with a wide-ranging impact,” Jones said in a recent statement.