UC Riverside

Case Study: UC Riverside

In Blog, case study, Design Resource, Occupancy by Morgan Dix

Summary: In collaboration with UCR, we developed a solution that included upgrading the campus design standard, increasing occupancy, and customizing an original lounge set.

Name: UC Riverside

Location: Riverside, CA

Size: 850 Bedroom Sets

Building Type: University Residence Halls

Project Team: UC Riverside, DCI, SCB Architects

Product List: Bed, Bookshelf, 4-Drawer Unit, Wardrobe


The University of California, Riverside is part of the prestigious University of California system.

Located in suburban Riverside, CA with a small branch campus in the Palm Desert, it is the only inland University among the 10 campuses in the UC system. Founded in 1907, it boasts over 18,500 undergraduate students and 2,000 graduate students.

DCI has provided sustainable hardwood furniture to campuses in the UC System since the ‘90’s with a steady contract since 2003.

California sets global standards for sustainability, and the UC System honors that legacy by upholding a rigorous green building ethic. This is one reason why DCI is a supplier of choice with the UC System. We provide the most sustainable furniture in the residence hall market.

This was our first time collaborating with UC Riverside. With the Glen Mor 2 residence hall’s focus on sustainability, it was a partnership waiting to happen.

In 2013, DCI was contacted by UC Riverside based on a referral from SCB Architects. The esteemed firm was responsible for designing UCR’s new ultra-modern desert chic 334,000 square foot Glen Mor 2 ($145m) student apartment complex. Now they were looking for a partner to furnish Glen Mor 2 with a new design standard.

In terms of project scope, according to Glen Mor 2 builder, Clark Construction, the complex includes:

…five, five-story apartment-style residence halls that altogether accommodate approximately 800 students. The housing facility has dedicated space for meeting rooms, a computer lab, and a fitness center. Clark also constructed a resident services office building, a food emporium, and a swimming pool as an integral part of the complex.

Process & Approach

UCR’s goal, in keeping with their new state-of-the-art environmentally sensitive complex, was to upgrade the design standard of their campus furniture to match the caliber of Glen Mor 2. They needed unique products to fit their unique application.

Stage 1 – Bedroom Furnishings

In 2013, we started the collaboration. Our first task was to design beds, wardrobes, desks, bookshelves, and dressers for triple rooms to maximize occupancy. We developed some custom products and layouts to meet their specs and UCR was enthusiastic.

Custom Wardrobe: We then entered a deeper collaborative process with many iterations to reach the perfect design. For example, we created a custom full-length mirror to add to the wardrobe and special features like an extra shelf. Additionally, we developed a custom stain and laminate to enhance the modern look of the set.

Custom Bed, Dresser, Bookshelf: How do you elegantly maximize space? Based on the design requirements, we developed a functional bed with space for 2 drawer units that could fit underneath the bed or stack anywhere in the room. We also developed a custom bookshelf that could fit under the bed. But we didn’t stop there. The bookshelf could also come out from under the bed and tip on it’s side to double as a nightstand.

Stage 2 – Living Rooms

At one stage in the process, the client asked for our opinion on a deluxe living room combo set they saw at a furniture expo and which included an end table, sofa, TV stand, and coffee table. The set they desired was too expensive. So based on our existing catalog and experience, they asked if we could develop some samples inspired by the new design.

We then designed our own set, incorporating their favorite design elements and our sturdy construction. We customized it to fit their specific environment. In the end, we developed a full living room set which included the following pieces:

  • Sectional sofa: corner unit, and left and right loveseat
  • TV stand
  • Coffee table and end table

Quality Control & Sustainability

We want every client to have total confidence in our products and service. The best way to do that is to do a site visit.

We took the team from UC Riverside to recent installations at UCLA and UC Berkeley where they could see our furniture in use, and interface with UC colleagues who worked with DCI.

Also, because the UC system has such high environmental standards, it was important for them to see our sustainability values in action. They flew from the West Coast to visit our sawmill and factory in New England.

Because DCI has chain of custody, the UC Riverside team could witness every stage in the production of their furniture.

They wanted to see their furniture being made and they were inspired! Why? For a number of reasons.

  1. Renewable Resource: They could see that DCI uses locally sourced hardwood trees, a renewable resource managed with sustainable forestry practices.
  2. Chain Of Custody: They could see the trees for themselves and how they were being cut up and processed. These methods have earned DCI the coveted gold standard of sustainability certification: FSC-C-o-C ® . This certification guarantees the following:
    • Prohibits the conversion of forests and other natural habitat.
    • Balances social, environmental and industry interests.
    • Prohibits the use of highly hazardous pesticides.
    • Respects the rights of indigenous peoples.
    • Prohibits the cultivation of genetically modified trees (GMOs).
  3. Zero Waste & Energy Efficient: Finally, they could tour the DCI factory, a model of sustainability where the boilers are fueled with sawdust from the manufacturing process to fire the kilns.

Embedded Environmental Ethic

According to the architectural firm Sasaki, the vision for Glen Mor 2 has an embedded environmental ethic.

The campus residential project seeks to blur perceived boundaries, link disparate communities, incorporate valued and distinctive landscape, and promote clear and safe pedestrian connections within the community, throughout the residential precinct, and to the core academic campus. Appropriate to the context and climate of UC Riverside, the complementary relationship of outdoor spaces to the indoor program components define the character of the housing community. The arroyo restoration transforms a neglected and overgrown eyesore into a fully integrated, signature, and safe pedestrian amenity.


To set up an order today or to talk with one of our representative, you write to us here or call: (800) 552-8286.

You can learn more about our industry-leading FSC CoC certification, our MAS certification, and our green materials sourcing, sustainable manufacturing, and our unique zero waste Vertical Integration Process (VIP).

Download the DCI Sustainability Overview here.

(Photo Via: Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA-3.0): Amerique at the English language Wikipedia; By CarlosOverstreet (Davis Wiki) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons; By Ucrscilibr.jpg [CC BY-SA 3.0])