Architect Search Continues

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

On April 3, the three finalists in UC Santa Cruz's executive architect search for the new Institute of the Arts and Sciences presented their design concepts for the Institute's future home. The Institute’s architectural program calls for a 30,000 square foot facility that includes exhibition galleries, seminar rooms and public event spaces, collection storage, studios and offices, a café, and ample public gathering areas.

Allied Works Architecture (Portland/New York), Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects (New York), and the team of Patkau Architects (Vancouver, B.C.) and Fong & Chan Architects (San Francisco) were selected as finalists in the architect search for the Institute.

In selecting the three finalists, Campus Architect John Barnes and an advisory group of administrators, staff, and faculty chose firms with exceptionally strong track records of projects in educational and cultural contexts, such as museums, science, and history learning institutions, and a demonstrated sensitivity to the interplay between landscape and built form.

UCSC Arts Dean David Yager noted, “I could not be happier with the three teams we are considering. These are some of the most thoughtful and accomplished architects working today, and we expect them to challenge our ideas and ultimately design a building that will both embody and inspire our community.”

“We have an exceptionally beautiful and complex landscape site and a mission that embraces serious interdisciplinary inquiry, education, public engagement, and research,” added John Weber, the Institute’s founding director. “We need an architectural home that responds equally and powerfully to both where we are, and what we seek to achieve.”

Along with the design concepts and their relevance to the Institute's program, the University will take a number of factors into account in reaching a final decision on the Institute's architect.  

These include: relevant project experience; design ability; affordability; responsiveness to project; project team members' and sub-consultant qualifications; client responsiveness; management and document production capability; proximity to project; and equal opportunity employment.

As John Barnes noted at the April 3 event, the University is not choosing a final design or even design approach at this point, it is selecting a long-term architectural partner to spearhead the design process for the Institute’s future home. Factors such as underground site condition and campus input will likely change the initial concepts presented by the architectural firm chosen. So for UC Santa Cruz, the key issue in the selection is to identify the best collaborator for a unique project of this kind. The University is evaluating the finalists in terms of approach, values, and their depth of experience in successfully resolving the wide range of technical, budgetary, and logistical challenges inherent in a building project of this type, size, and site. 

Over the course of April, Barnes, Weber, Yager and their colleagues will continue interrogating the past work done by the three finalist teams, speaking in depth with former clients of each architectural firm, and surveying responses to the April 3 presentations by faculty, Chancellor Blumenthal and the UCSC Administration, alumni, UCSC supporters, students, and members of a selection jury including faculty and staff. As Campus Architect, Barnes himself is charged with casting the decisive vote after consulting all relevant stakeholders and assessing the competencies and assets each architect would bring to the project. A decision is expected by April 30.