University of California, Santa Barbara, San Joaquin Apartments and Precinct Improvements

SOM is leading a team for the master planning and architectural design of housing on the University of California, Santa Barbara campus. The project calls for creating new apartment-style residences and amenities for students, as well as staff and faculty housing, a dining commons, a cafe, and a convenience store. The development will be built near an existing residence hall and will accommodate more than 1,000 additional students.

Divided into three primary precincts, the site’s organization is based on a Cartesian grid of threaded circulation paths offering pedestrian and bicycle access to residences and amenities. Active plazas, recreational facilities, and courtyard gardens are generously provided as key components of the campus plan, enhancing student social life. These areas create a sense of arrival for clusters of student housing and also connect to surrounding residential neighborhoods. A system of biofiltration planters and bioswales are strategically incorporated throughout the site to capture and filter stormwater runoff draining into adjacent wetlands.

In addition to the master plan, SOM has designed the site's Tenaya Towers, which will contain student housing and a convenience store serving both the university and adjacent community. Oriented east to west, the six-story buildings are parallel to one another and define an active plaza. A freestanding pavilion with a recreation room and study lounge will be located in the plaza for the shared use of the student population.

In the towers, living areas open onto balconies that overlook the plaza while bedrooms are situated away from the activity. The buildings' study lounges and recreation rooms are collected into vertical tower elements and are centrally located on most floors to foster social vibrancy. The towers will boast a number of sustainable features, including natural ventilation, rooftop solar hot water collectors, and maximized daylight to reduce energy use.