LMN Architects connects learning centre with aluminum walkways

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LMN Architects, a Seattle-based architecture studio, has designed a new university building in Santa Barbara, California. The Interactive Learning Pavilion, as it is called, is the first building to be constructed on the University of California Santa Barbara’s campus in over 50 years. The structure consists of two separate buildings that face each other, connected by a series of walkways covered in perforated aluminum. These walkways create an open-air causeway, or paseo, lined with ramps and terraces.

The purpose of the pavilion is to serve as a connector between different parts of the campus, in line with the Long Range Development Plan. LMN partner Stephen Van Dyck stated that the building represents an advancement of this master plan vision as well as a contemporary reimagination of vernacular courtyards, terraces, and paseos.

The facades of the pavilion were influenced by the geology of the area, specifically the “Southern California seaside context”. This resulted in two distinct facade characteristics. The outward-facing facade is made of smooth grey concrete panels and windows, creating a sleek appearance. On the other hand, the inward-facing facades have an organic, loose formal language.

The two volumes of the four-story structure are lined with layers of different shades of brick, creating a canyon-like effect. The studio stated that the design took inspiration from the local vernacular architecture and the adjacent seaside cliffs, resembling the sedimentary sandstone with its curvilinear, polished concrete block walls.

However, the organic design of the structure was also influenced by the need for efficient classroom layouts. The open-air interior causeway and stratified facade allow for ample natural light in the educational spaces and provide easy circulation for students between indoor and outdoor areas.

The program of the Interactive Learning Pavilion includes three lecture halls, with two in the longer volume and one in the smaller volume. Two of the lecture halls are double-height, and the remaining floors house study halls and smaller classrooms. The interior color palette for the classrooms was chosen to reflect the geography of the Channel Islands, with color blocks incorporated into the otherwise neutral interiors.

LMN principal Jennifer Milliron stated that the integration of natural light into every classroom creates contemporary learning environments with stunning views of the lagoon and ocean. The building captures the essence of the campus and its surroundings.

LMN Architects, founded in Seattle in 1979, has recently completed projects such as a convention center in Downtown Seattle and an extension to an Asian art museum. The photography for the Interactive Learning Pavilion was done by Patrick Price.

Project Credits:

– Architect: LMN Architects
– Consultant: UCSB Design & Construction Services
– Project Contractor: C.W. Driver
– Structural Engineer: Saiful Bouquet
– Civil Engineer: Stantec Consulting Services
– Landscape Architect: Arcadia Studio
– MEP, Lighting & Sustainability: Integral Group
– Acoustic, AV & IT: Arup
– Environmental Graphics: Entro
– Wind Consultant: RWDI

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