Post image for Humanities Complex

Humanities Complex

Project Info

University of California
Santa Cruz, California
85,000 sf
Completed in 2006

UC Santa Cruz’s Humanities Complex is a collection of three buildings that provide the campus with new classrooms, teaching and research space, and offices. Instructional spaces include language and computer labs and a 300-seat auditorium. The design of the facility delicately places the buildings within the lush natural environment of the Santa Cruz campus, while creating a strong identity and presence for the newly consolidated Humanities Division.

The three naturally ventilated buildings create a courtyard that provides students and faculty a common area of assembly. The building materials respect their setting and the simple forms complement the landscape.

Sustainable Design Highlights:
Sustainable Design Highlights:

The University is located on a seaside bluff nestled into the ecotone between a redwood grove and expansive meadows overlooking Monterey Bay. Cool morning and evening coastal air provides excellent conditions for night flushing and reasonably consistent mid-day sun allows for passive daylighting. The Humanities Facility takes advantage of this via a tall and narrow cross-section that allows natural ventilation and lighting for all of the spaces. This eliminated the need for air conditioning in two of the three buildings. Post construction monitoring of the complex by the University has validated the siting and building design decisions, calculating a reduction of CO2 emissions of 683 tons per year or 71% over code requirements compared to a similar facility.

  • Operable windows throughout
  • Most spaces are naturally ventilated
  • Thermal mass modulates temperature swings
  • Reused pre-developed site to minimize disruption of redwood groves
  • Building massing designed to maximize daylight and minimize building footprint
  • Maintains pre-development site water infiltration volumes.
  • Awards

    SCUP AIA-CAE Excellence in Architecture Merit Award
    AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Citation Award
    AIA Portland Chapter Merit Award