Price Center East
Cannon Design - Los Angeles
Grand Prize Winner 2011 Education Design Showcase

Project Fact Sheet
Facility Use: College/University 4-Year Institution
Project Type: Renovation/Modernization
Category: Student Unions (College Only)
Location: La Jolla, CA
District/Inst.: University of California, San Diego
   Marye Anne Fox Chancellor
Completion Date: July 2008
Design Capacity: 8,000 students
Enrollment: 27,000 students
Gross Area: 238,000 sq.ft.
Space per pupil: 29 sq.ft.
Site size: 1,200 acres
Cost per student: $6,500
Cost per sq.ft.: $218.00
Total project cost: $52,000,000
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The plan of the University of California, San Diego's (UCSD) existing Price student center was developed with an "introverted" configuration—a central courtyard bordered on three sides with all of the building's program elements facing inward—establishing a powerful sense of place and a hub for dining, socializing and events. When the university’s growth necessitated an expansion of the Price Center, the architect’s solution was to create an "extroverted," highly-permeable addition offering many entry points and features such as plazas and monumental staircases that engage the building’s surroundings and enrich the street experience.

The 238,000 total sf (172,000 sf new construction, 66,000 sf renovation) Price Center East expands the bookstore and available space for retail, foodservice and student organizations, and reinforces the primary pedestrian circulation paths to link all campus components. In response to the site’s gradual slope, the addition has two "ground floors,” as does the original Price Center, enhancing the accessibility of both the existing facility and the expansion, while maximizing revenue from and synergy among retail and foodservice outlets, all located at grade.

Consistent with the planning goals of the UCSD Master Plan and the University Center Design Guidelines, the addition’s architectural character and multiple points of entry aid the transformation of the surrounding University Center neighborhood into a “town center”: a lively, dense, pedestrian-oriented area with a distinctive urban quality, serving as a hub for various activities and as the heart of the campus. In support of the university’s goal of achieving the equivalent of a LEED Silver rating, the project incorporates a number of sustainable design elements.

Student and Campus Community Involvement

The Price Center East planning and design process was led by a chancellor-appointed Building Advisory Committee (BAC) co-chaired by the assistant vice chancellor for student life, a student and the university center’s advisory board chairperson. The BAC roster consisted of 15 students representing diverse campus constituencies, and nine staff/administration representing programs in the building, as well as faculty and facility professionals. This committee was charged with major decisions about program, cost, planning and design throughout the life of the project–programming through construction. Committee decisions were made democratically, and it was a testament to the maturity of the students and other committee members that the process was successful throughout a seven-year design and construction period.


As an important component of creating a 24-hour campus “downtown,” the planning of Price Center East engaged varied parts of the campus community to create rich experiences. Early programming included campus recreation, the alumni center, cross-cultural center, student affairs, campus bookstore and the office of religious affairs, with the goal of creating a diverse, student-focused campus center. The diverse needs of these components created a rich dialogue about community and, in particular, the integration of the alumni and cross-cultural centers into the final design to create a facility that serves a greater breadth and depth of the campus community.

Shaping Project Goals

The East expansion met UCSD’s challenges with three organizational moves, renewing UCSD’s campus life:

• The building is organized around an interior atrium, visually connecting lounge, dining and retail activities with student organization spaces, alumni, cross-cultural centers and meeting rooms. This transparency encourages participation and engagement between students, staff and professors.

• The entries, outdoor space and circulation paths throughout the building respond to the developing pattern of the adjacent campus, encouraging students to pass through the building, making student activities and social engagement more directly accessible to the campus community.

• The building’s service and loading functions are now located underneath the building, freeing the entire ground level, creating an open and inviting space for students and visitors approaching from all directions. From a building with a back, the expanded Price Center is now all “front.”

Effective Space Supporting Building Community and Student Learning

The addition extends the bookstore and available space for retail, foodservice and student organizations, while reinforcing the primary pedestrian circulation paths linking the campus components. In response to the gradual slope of the site, the addition has two “ground floors,” as does the original Price Center, enhancing the accessibility and maximizing synergy among retail and foodservice outlets, all located at grade.

The upper two floors contain administrative, student organization and leadership spaces. Organization offices, which are assigned annually by a merit-based system, are clustered in small groups around communal lounge spaces to foster inter-club interaction. Student organizations are served by a new one-stop center—an open, concierge-like area where most needs of student activities can be met with one interaction. Previously, students needed multiple appointments to develop events—advisors, room scheduling, catering, technology and advertising were scattered. This new physical organization was developed concurrently with repositioning and retraining staff.

Needs of commuter students were also considered throughout the process. Included in the ground-floor space of the atrium and dining areas, commuter lounge space is located adjacent to a campus shuttle stop, a computer lab and multiple study rooms. These additionally link the social and academic experience, providing expanded opportunities for all students to be engaged in campus life.

Sustainable Design

In the Price Center Expansion, an HVAC system tailored to the microclimate of the La Jolla Mesa uses relief air to serve multiple purposes. Outside air is cooled, filtered, and drawn into office areas, then directed to the building’s large atrium space, and finally vented out through spaces that can operate at higher temperatures, such as mechanical and electrical rooms, cooking facilities, and loading docks. The ventilation of mechanical rooms with relief air from the building protects equipment from ocean moisture and salt without requiring additional filtration. With a capacity 30% below standard, the expansion’s HVAC system was achieved at a first cost of 20% less than a typical San Diego office VAV system—even with the additional ductwork.

Chilled-water control valves dramatically improve the temperature difference between supply and return chilled water, improving the central plant’s efficiency and expanding the capacity of existing equipment. In harmony with the mild climate, the building’s heating system provides heat only in required locations at the building perimeter and capitalizes upon internal heat generated from lighting and other sources. Taken together, the building’s innovations yield an overall energy efficiency that significantly exceeds California Title 24 standards.

Sustainable Sites

• Development of building in existing urban campus preserves greenfields and natural resources

• 144 bicycle rack spaces and three electric cart recharging ports encourage alternative transportation on campus

• Building is served by campus bus line accessible from multiple building entries

• Trees and landscaping shade 30% of nonroof surfaces, reducing heat-island effects

• Exterior lighting achieves zero direct-beam illumination from site, minimizing night-sky light pollution

Indoor Environmental Quality

• Displacement ventilation system enhances indoor air quality beyond code minimums

• Low-VOC construction adhesives, paints, coatings, carpet, composite wood and agrifiber products preserve indoor air quality

• Permanent temperature and humidity monitoring system integrated with building’s automation system maintains building zones within comfort setpoints

Water Efficiency

• High-efficiency irrigation technology and low-flow fixtures conserve potable water

Materials and Resources

• Existing Price Center building reused

• Exterior stone reused

• 30,000 cubic yards of site-excavated soil reused

• Linoleum and wood flooring specified from rapidly renewable materials

• Carpeting incorporates 35% recycled content

• Construction waste of paper, wood, metal and concrete separated and recycled by contractor

Energy and Atmosphere

• Low-velocity air displacement mechanical system outperforms California Title 24 standards

• Customization of ventilation system to microclimate of La Jolla Mesa reduces system’s first cost• Circulation of air throughout entire building increases ventilation system efficiency

Project Description:
1) Control of Institution: Public
2) Type of Institution: Traditional


Methodology & Standards:

Funding Method(s):
Primary Source: Alternative Source
Alternative Sources: Secondary: Other (student fees/referendum)

Project Delivery Method(s):
CM At-Risk

Sustainable/Green Design:
Principles Followed: LEED
Certifications Obtained: Other (University of California Green Building)
Water Conservation: Water Conservation (University of California Green Building)
Energy Efficiency and Conservation: Energy Efficiency (University of California Green Building); Natural Ventilation (University of California Green Building)
Indoor Environmental Quality: Use of Daylighting (University of California Green Building)


Associated Firms and Consultants:
Educational Planning: M.A. Mortenson Company
Landscape Architecture: Pamela Burton & Company
Structural Engineer: Englekirk & Sabol
Electrical Engineer: Coffman
Mechanical Engineer: IBE Consulting Engineers
Civil Engineer: Hirsch & Company
Acoustical Consultant: Newson Brown Acoustics, LLC
Food Service/Kitchen Consultant: Webb Design
Cost Consultant: Cummings, LLC
Code Consultant: Schirmer Engineering Corp.
Other: Lerch, Bates & Associates, Inc.; Lighting Design Alliance; Media Systems Design Group; Technical Resource Consultants, Inc.

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