University of California, Santa Barbara | Santa Barbara, CA
The recreation center expansion at UC Santa Barbara incorporates the existing recreation center and aquatics complex to enclose a 9.5-acre landscaped precinct with running path. The expansion creates a secure, continuous sequence of outdoor spaces that extend the programmed recreation space beyond the buildings. The design is inspired by the surrounding landscape, and indoor and outdoor spaces feature dramatic views to the Santa Ynez Mountains. Glazed expanses bring in abundant daylight while shading devices and treated glazing control heat and glare. The expansion features several sustainable solutions and is certified LEED® Silver.
Located to the northwest of the existing recreation center, the expansion is divided into two predominant wings—the academic wing and the activities wing. A south-facing, covered walkway links a classroom, offices, multipurpose room, and pottery studio—which together compose the academic wing. The activities wing features a Multipurpose Activities Court (MAC), climbing wall, and locker rooms. The MAC organizes the interior circulation of the project and serves as a venue for inline hockey, indoor soccer, and basketball. The adjacent 30 foot-high climbing wall faces the exterior courtyard and, when lit at night, showcases activities to the outside. A cardio and weight room transitions the scale between the two wings and features views to the nearby mountains.
The coastal surroundings inspired the expansion's appearance. An exterior tripartite scheme mirrors the green athletic fields, seasonably tan native grasses, and a violet Santa Ynez Mountains. An interior complimentary palette uses stained, heavy timber framing and decking, and maple veneered acoustical panels. The MAC, with its expansive icy blue-white court and soft north light, is finished in cool colors. The cardio and weight room uses warm, intense colors to define the architectural elements. The interior surfaces of the skylights and clerestories in the locker rooms are painted bright orange and yellow to complement the cool blues and green hues of the glass and tile. A continuous clerestory provides natural daylighting, a wood ceiling floats above the clerestory, and a wide overhang extends the ceiling plane beyond the walls. Banks of doors open to courtyards and to views of mountain ranges. Outside, two pools are sited for views of the mountain range to the north and playfields to the south.
The building's orientation and stepped massing preserve views to the distant mountains and accommodate the existing Live Oaks and historic Eucalyptus windrow. The elongated footprint and prominent features, such as the locker rooms' light monitors, allow many interior spaces to meet lighting needs through windows alone. Operable windows passively ventilate over 90% of the building while mechanical air conditioning serves only the cardio and weight room and classroom. High albedo roofing alleviates the absorption of the sun's heat and photovoltaic panels produce 51% of the facility's electrical power needs.
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