The university's Division of Student Affairs anticipates and responds to the needs of a diverse and changing student body by providing services and programs that promote physical and emotional well-being as well as intellectual and personal development. The purpose of the new Student Resource Building (SRB) is to consolidate and support key division services and student groups. Sasaki's open design creates a welcoming atmosphere that fosters interaction and collaboration between the diverse student groups, faculty, and staff. Since its opening in 2007, the LEED® Silver certified SRB has become a community hub and source of campus pride that reflects the diverse interests of its users. Placed at a major campus intersection, the building is a component of the arrival gateway that connects the adjacent residential community to the core campus. Every day, more than 10,000 students, staff, and faculty approach the campus from this direction and use it as their campus living room to meet, study, and socialize.
"Our challenge to the SRB architects was to design a building that would house key student service departments while attracting and welcoming all kinds of students in spaces that would promote—but not force—encounters and meaningful connections among students," said Yonie Harris, dean of students at UCSB. Because it houses only student-centered programs and no academic space, the SRB was ineligible for state funding and thus paid for largely by an increase to student fees—for which the students themselves voted. The design team worked closely with the student body to ensure the design responded to their unique needs and desires.
The building comprises two three-story wings flanking a central, vertical forum space. The forum is designed to be the center of activity, connecting the resources and services on all floors socially and spatially. Narrow floor widths maximize the effects of daylighting and natural ventilation. The forum opens to the multipurpose room, designed to host dances and other functions. The multipurpose room in turn opens to a free-speech plaza on the Pardall Corridor that provides a loggia-like staging area for celebrations and other public events. The color palette was inspired by the colors found in nature and crafts from world cultures. Brightly painted accent walls and colorful furniture upholstery offset the neutral palette of maple wood, steel, and aluminum framing systems and exposed concrete walls and ceilings. The design team used brighter colors in the public spaces and quieter colors in the work and study zones, punctuated by vivid accent planes. Sasaki also designed a wayfinding system that provides easy-to-spot information created with building context in mind.
Sasaki made every effort to create a healthy environment for the SRB project. Interior materials included engineered stone flooring with high recycled content, rubber flooring, carpet tiles with post-industrial nylon content, low VOC paints, FSC certified woods, highly recycled acoustical tiles used only where necessary, and furniture upholstery of wool and recycled nylons.