The new Classroom Building, designed by LMN Architects, has broken ground at the University of California Santa Barbara. It will be the first new classroom building on campus since 1967.
The four-story, 90,000-sf facility will increase campus classroom capacity by 35%, providing 2,000 seats across five lecture halls, three active learning flat-floor rooms, and 20 flexible classrooms in the center of the University’s shoreline campus. The building is designed to be a porous structure that opens at every face to welcome the university community and intertwine the life of the building with the surrounding campus and natural environment.
The Classroom Building will comprise two main volumes surrounding a central circulation corridor that runs east-west, linking the extension of Library Mall to Science Walk. An open-air paseo will interconnect the functions of the two buildings’ masses, providing outdoor terraces, stairs, bridges, and collaboration spaces designed to encourage collaboration among students and faculty.
The exterior will include a vertical facade system comprised of high-performance concrete panels and vertical windows that clad the outward-facing elevations. Facing the building’s internal public spaces, the building takes a radically different form by sculpting the shared exterior terraces with a more loose, organic formal language, driven by the efficient planning of the lecture halls within. The resulting formal and material qualities of these spaces take inspiration from the local vernacular architecture and the adjacent seaside cliffs, recalling the sedimentary sandstone in its curvilinear, polished concrete block walls.
In addition to LMN Architects, the build team also includes C.W. Driver as the builder. The project is slated for completion in 2023.