UC Santa Barbara is a prestigious Public Ivy and one of 10 campuses in the University of California System.
Nestled atop cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean with a beautiful backdrop of rolling hills and the mountains of the Pacific Coast Range, UCSB’s stunning campus is home to 21,574 undergraduate students, 2,772 graduate students and 1,163 faculty.
You don’t have to look far to see the impact of the environmental programs on campus. UCSB boasts several LEED platinum and gold certified buildings on campus.
One of its newest developments—the Sierra Madre Villages student housing complex—is the first in the UC system to win LEED Platinum in the context of LEED for Homes.
Bren Hall is similarly distinguished, having earned LEED platinum certification in 2002 when it was built, but then it went on to win a second LEED Platinum certification in 2009—the first building to ever accomplish that. Bren was also the very first LEED Platinum-certified laboratory building.
Recently, the University started on an ambitious new project called the San Joaquin Apartments. The project is a key part of the university’s goal to increase enrollment by 5,000 students over the next nine years, and San Joaquin will house 1,000 of those new residents.
PROCESS & APPROACH
In 2015 UCSB approached DCI about the prospect of furnishing the San Joaquin Apartments. Given UCSB’s strong institutional focus on sustainability, DCI was a great match.
First, they were looking for a local vendor, and loved that DCI’s assembly plant was located nearby. Second, UCSB strives to buy the most
environmentally sensitive products possible, without compromising style. Our custom-designed solid hardwood furniture provided the ideal solution.
And finally, DCI has a zero-waste manufacturing policy, a robust furniture recycling policy, and all our furniture is climate friendly.
In our first discovery meeting, we learned more about the UCSB team’s design goals. Their interior designers and project team wanted to try something new and different to embrace a modern furniture esthetic to match the innovative and decidedly modern style of the San Joaquin Apartments.
We turned their ideas into a presentation proposing various approaches and hit on a style that excited them—integrating contrasting colors into the furniture.
From this point, we entered into a deeper collaborative process. We proposed several ideas for their feedback which allowed us to go back and forth and hone in on the final pieces of furniture for the project.
Then we produced renders of the residence hall rooms from CAD drawings so everyone could see how the furniture looked and fit in the rooms. The UCSB team loved what they saw and wanted to see final samples and the rest is history.
In the end, we customized a number of unique products for UCSB. We used the contrasting drawer fronts on several pieces of furniture: the wardrobe, bed, three-drawer chest, and desk.
We also created a beautiful custom dining table— borrowing elements from our Glen Mor collection —which featured a solid maple top and a powdered metal base and backed by a lifetime warranty in the spirit of true renewability.
The wardrobe includes three drawers, a mirror and a lower shoe shelf, providing maximum storage. Then we incorporated a center partition and adjustable shelving so students can organize the space to best meet their personal needs. This solution provides multiple options to hang long and short clothes and choose between extra hanging space or additional shelving.
In the end, projects with this level of creative collaboration are always the most exciting and fulfilling. By incorporating sustainability and custom design dimensions into the San Joaquin Apartment projects, we are contributing to UCSB’s outstanding environmental record while providing stylish, functional, and lasting furniture for residents.
We are also ensuring that our world remains just a little greener.
Project Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Project Size: 57 Apartments, 322 Bedroom Spaces
Building Type: Multi-use Residence Hall
Project Team: UCSB, DCI
Product List: Bed, 3-drawer chest, Desk, Pedestal, Wardrobe, Dining Table, Coffee Table, TV Stand
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