UC Santa Barbara San Joaquin Student Housing

Santa Barbara, California

UC Santa Barbara San Joaquin Student Housing

Completed in 2017, this was a major densification of two existing apartment blocks to create an educational community. The project added 1000 new beds in two new “Gateway” towers by SOM San Francisco, 4 village style clusters, by Kevin Daly and Lorcan O’Herlihy, also, a new dining commons by Kieran Timberlake.  TLS coordinated with the entire team to create a seamless fabric of spaces at varying scales for outdoor living in this balmy seaside climate. Ecological design and planting, restricted water consumption, and respect for an adjacent wetland were key to the scheme.


The “Main Street Promenade” passes longitudinally through the center of the site – a major east-west circulation spine, a multi-modal corridor for use by pedestrians, bikes, emergency vehicles, deliveries and by private vehicles on campus move-in days.  The site design creates a tightly integrated pedestrian and bicycle network intended to make walking, cycling, and running. Bike parking is liberally provided and strategically distributed throughout the site to keep bikes the convenient option.  Bike parking areas will be kept to modest sizes and arranged into “bike corrals” enclosed by hedges and shaded overhead by trees.


A series of entry and connector plazas along the promenade will serve as links between the “North Village” housing area and the rest of the site south of the “Main Street”.  Secondary North-South pathways, located between each cluster neighborhood, provide major bike parking and act as the main connectors from the village to the class 1 bike way on the north edge of the Villages.  These North-South pathways, shaded by irregular groves of trees, define major bike parking zones. Each courtyard will have individual themes that will be represented through form, materials and planting.  These include the Garden Court, Lotusland Court, Desert Court and Wetland Court.  A series of connective walks will provide an informal, meandering path through the different North Village neighborhoods, unfolding like a “yellow brick road”.


A welcoming Entry Plaza will be located between the Gateway buildings.  It will be comprised of a café outdoor seating area, a mini plaza under the Laundry Pavilion’s overhang, two sand volleyball courts and two bike parking areas.  A shuttle drop-off zone adjacent to the Entry Plaza easily leads students into the precincts.  Lawn covered landforms around the site provide topographical interest and provide sloped lawn areas for the students to lounge on to relax, to study, and to frame the sports and activities going on.


Santa Barbara, California


13 Acres




SOM - San Francisco, Kevin Daly Architects, Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects, Kieran Timberlake