UC Santa Cruz Big Creek Reserve, University of California Campus Class Room, Big Creek Reserve Building Photos

UC Santa Cruz in Big Creek Reserve

Feb 12, 2023

Architects: Levy Art + Architecture

Location: Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve, southern region of Big Sur, California, USA

UC Santa Cruz Big Creek Reserve California

Photos: Levy Art + Architecture

UC Santa Cruz, CA

Working with the Conservation Biology Department at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC), Levy Art + Architecture designed a living classroom, scientific research housing and staff housing on the 7,000 acre Natural Reserve and adjacent Marine Sanctuary.

UC Santa Cruz Big Creek Reserve

In addition to developing an appropriate architectural language, we coordinated a project team to create a complete, standalone facility that is self-powering, and environmentally neutral in terms of water supply and wastewater disposal.

UC Santa Cruz Big Creek Reserve California

The level of difficulty was increased by the close proximity to the pristine Big Creek and its riparian zone. Budget constraints were extreme, as we were asked to develop two separate sites that each required complete infrastructure, as well as protection for sensitive environments and species.

UC Santa Cruz California

LEED registration was cost-prohibitive, but the project is LEED Platinum equivalent. We worked through a rigorous UC process and created an exemplary architectural response.

UC Santa Cruz Big Creek Reserve California

In terms of community engagement, we involved local “in-holders” who have owned homesteaded properties for generations. Considering First Nations and archaeology was also important. Although the Reserve is primarily intended for scientific research and education, we were able to expand the community by making agreements with the Coastal Commission to allow for some public access to this spectacular place.

UC Santa Cruz Big Creek Reserve

Defined by integration — into the setting, into the ecosystem and into the larger conversation about climate — we nestled the program into natural spaces and made it as invisible as possible. It’s as much about real utility integration as it is about environment and aesthetics. It’s planned as an ecosystem within an ecosystem.

UC Santa Cruz Big Creek Reserve

UC Santa Cruz, Big Creek Reserve in California, USA – Building Information

Architects: Levy Art + Architecture – https://levyaa.com/

Completion date: 2020

General Contractor: Mark Plainfield
Civil Engineer: Sherwood Design Engineers
Structural Engineer: Daedalus Structural Engineering

The Integral Group

UC Santa Cruz California

Photography: Levy Art + Architecture

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UC Santa Cruz, Big Creek Reserve, California images / information received 120223 from Levy Art + Architecture

Location: Big Creek Reserve, southern Big Sur, California, USA

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