Studio E in ArchDaily: Housing Dining Hospitality Building featured in “UCSD: A Built History of Modernism”

This past Sunday, popular architecture website ArchDaily presented a feature on the architecture of the University of California, San Diego entitled UCSD: A Built History of Modernism. In a brief essay with a collection of beautiful photos, the author provides a succinct history and an accompanying architectural highlight reel of the campus. Ranging from the proto-modern work of Irving Gill at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, to the heroic forms at Revelle College overseen by Robert Alexander, and the more humanistic spaces espoused by Robert Mosher for neighboring Muir College, the author notes that, despite its relative youth, the campus:

“is one of the most architecturally fascinating universities… the history of UCSD architecture is one of ambition, which has made the campus a display case of modernism in all of its forms…”


William Pereira’s Geisel Library, UCSD. Photo © Darren Bradley

William Pereira’s Geisel Library is rightfully identified as the star of UCSD’s modern menagerie (a silhouette of which served as the University logo), however, the piece also identifies a collection of more recent “gems”. Included in this lineup is our very own Housing Dining Hospitality Building – and we at Studio E Architects are thrilled and honored to be named in such select company.


Housing Dining Hospitality Building, UCSD. Photo: David Hewitt & Anne Garrison

The Housing Dining Hospitality Building is the administrative home of UCSD’s Housing Dining Hospitality group, as well as the campus’ central catering kitchen. Located on the southwestern corner of campus, the building looks out on North Torrey Pines Road at ground level, with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean at level two and above. The 43,400-square-foot building contains an 8,000-square-foot catering kitchen, lobby, and break room on the ground level – with office space for administrative staff and catering sales & support located on the floors above. An event space and terrace are also included on level four.


Ground level lobby & break room. Photo: David Hewitt & Anne Garrison


Event space and adjoining terrace. Photo: David Hewitt & Anne Garrison

The design resolves a series of specific responses to the project’s program and coastal setting. Catering operations are concealed within the concrete base, which emerges from the landscape in a manner akin to nearby oceanfront cliffs. Meeting, conference, & event spaces are placed at the western edge of the upper levels, where they are wrapped by the building’s distinguishing feature – a rippling glass screen wall, which allows unfettered shoreline & sunset views while passively controlling solar gain to the spaces within.


Event space with ocean views, sheltered by glass screen wall. Photo: David Hewitt & Anne Garrison

Subtly-faceted to catch sunlight across the day and with colors chosen to evoke the character and shimmer of Pacific Ocean swells, the screen wall also serves as a wind block for the level 4 terrace.

Glazed Screen Wall Composite

Detail of rippling glass screen wall. Photos: David Hewitt & Anne Garrison

The coastal condition is further evident in the building’s carefully-considered details – the rough texture of the board-formed concrete base; the winding form of the site stair that echoes local bluff-climbing beach flights; a ramp ascending from the landscape and culminating in a sheltering, overlook pier above a grotto-like entrance – all invite discovery and surprise to those curious enough to explore.


Detail of sheltered entry & board-formed concrete. Photos: David Hewitt & Anne Garrison

All of this combines to make a building that not only looks like a gem, but performs like one too – the Housing Dining Hospitality Building was designed to meet LEED Gold standards and performs 21% above California Title 24 requirements. Construction was completed in the Fall of 2009, and the project has since been recognized with several awards – including a Divine Detail Award from the San Diego chapter of the AIA and an Orchid for Architecture from the San Diego Architectural Foundation. For more on the Housing Dining Hospitality Building, click here.

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