Parking Garage at UCSD nearing completion


The fins are going up on the perimeter of the UCSD Medical Center Parking Garage

The fins are up on the perimeter of the UCSD Medical Center Parking Garage

There’s a lot of construction happening on UCSD’s Medical Center campus, east of the 5 freeway in La Jolla! Right in the heart of it is this Studio E Architect’s designed parking structure, which is nearing completion. As part of the McCarthy led design-build team, we won the project back in 2014, along with IPD as the parking architect. You can read more about the win and see the renderings at this previous blog post.

The 7-story garage features perforated aluminum fins around the perimeter designed to shield the cars and lights within, activate the facade and break up the mass and simple form of the garage structure. The approach is akin to putting on some sparkly eye-catching jewelry!

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Workers delicately align the fins to the embed channels cast into the concrete structure

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Looking out of the garage through the fins with varying degrees of perforation and angle

Buried in the heart of the garage are two 80 feet tall thermal energy storage (TES) tanks. This design move not only screens the tanks from view but it cracks open the large floor plate of the garage, allowing light to penetrate into what would otherwise be the darkest spots in the garage.

Daylight at atrium

Daylight illuminates the atrium and the textured rear wall of the garage

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The garage splits around the TES tanks allowing light to enter deep in the floor plate

Still in progress is the monumental stair at the southwest corner which connects the level 3 south walkway to the pedestrian thoroughfare of Health Sciences Walk. Also located at this junction is the glass elevator shaft. This was designed as a visual terminus to Health Sciences Walk and its vertical nature was accentuated by pronounced, over-sized vertical mullions in a lighter metallic color and darker horizontal mullions which tend to recede into the background. We are excited to see this area starting to come together!


The glass elevator tower at the southwest corner

The views from the street really show the play of light and shadow and the varied nature of the west facade along Medical Center Drive. A big success was stepping down the height here to 5 stories and the insertion of light wells to split the 360 foot long building into three chunks. The two-story volume space at the southwest corner accentuates a small plaza at the foot of the monumental stair, complete with a coffee cart. Beyond this space to the north projects a one-story box housing the information office. All these design moves serve to create a people friendly place at this important corner, proving that this parking structure is not only about the cars, all 1,259 of them!

Street view

Street view from the southwest


Street view from the northwest

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One Response to Parking Garage at UCSD nearing completion

  1. Ambrose Wong says:

    The progress looks great! We’re happy to be working with you, McCarthy, and the rest of the team on this unique project.

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