LMN Architects Completes the Interactive Learning Pavilion at the University of California, Santa Barbara


Interactive Learning Pavilion
University of California, Santa Barbara

Seattle, Washington – October 16, 2023 – LMN Architects is pleased to celebrate the completion of the Interactive Learning Pavilion at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The project provides contemporary instructional spaces over four floors in the center of the University’s iconic shoreline campus.

Construction has been completed on a new LMN designed classroom building located on a central site along Library Mall. The 90,000 SFT project is the first dedicated classroom building to be built on campus since 1967, offering 2,000 seats of instructional space across a variety of contemporary learning environments. The Interactive Learning Pavilion is woven into the life of the campus, integrating the characteristics of the local context to serve the entirety of the undergraduate population.

Julie Hendricks, Campus Architect and Director of Design & Construction Services at UC Santa Barbara, comments: “This is the first new building of its kind on campus in 50 years. It is the ideal facility for a world-class academic institution, fulfilling the high expectations that come with such prestige. Understanding the significance of this responsibility, we wanted to provide the experience that our students anticipate, require, and deserve. The project serves the university’s most foundational mission: to provide students with a comfortable space where they can think, learn, create, and grow. The building celebrates the natural beauty of Santa Barbara and prepares our students to have a positive impact on the world.”

Stephen Van Dyck, Partner at LMN Architects, comments: “The Interactive Learning Pavilion establishes a major new destination within the heart of the UC Santa Barbara campus, welcoming its community in a collaborative hub that celebrates its unique and stunning natural environment. The site, configuration, and design of the building represent a major step forward towards the goals of the University’s Long Range Development Plan, anticipating the eventual extension of Library Mall to the south and realizing the eastward extension of Pardall Mall. The building represents both an advancement of this master plan vision as well as a contemporary reimagination of vernacular courtyards, terraces, and paseos.”

Comprised of two main volumes surrounding an east/west-running central circulation corridor, the project creates a natural flow between Library Mall and Science Walk, offering outdoor spaces that take advantage of the coastal campus environment. This open-air paseo interconnects the functions of the two masses, providing outdoor terraces, stairs, bridges, and collaboration spaces designed to encourage serendipitous interactions and collaboration among students and faculty. The internal layout of the building also plays a critical role in fostering an environment that promotes collaboration and learning. With a constant flow of activity throughout the day, the building’s many instructional spaces create a dynamic and engaging atmosphere that reflects the vibrant social and academic cultures of UC Santa Barbara and extends throughout the building’s vertically arranged public spaces.

The building’s exterior presents two distinct characters of expression, inspired by the unique geological and geographical conditions of its Southern California seaside context. A taut, vertical façade system comprised of high-performance-concrete panels and vertical windows clads the outward-facing elevations, establishing the building massing as clear framing elements along the adjacent campus spaces of Library Mall and Pardall Mall. Facing the internal public spaces, the building takes a radically different form by sculpting the shared exterior terraces with a more loose, organic formal language, driven by the efficient planning of the lecture halls within. The resulting formal and material qualities of these spaces take inspiration from the local vernacular architecture and the adjacent seaside cliffs, recalling the sedimentary sandstone in its curvilinear, polished concrete block walls.

Jennifer Milliron, Principal at LMN Architects, comments: “The Interactive Learning Pavilion seamlessly integrates with the campus surroundings, drawing inspiration from the Central Coast of California’s climate and its unique site. The building creates a vertical extension of the adjacent campus spaces by providing outdoor terraces at each level that encourage student learning and collaboration outside of the classrooms. To further enhance this connection, we have brought the same design philosophy to the building’s teaching spaces, utilizing materials and color palettes that are inspired by its distinctive setting. We integrated natural light into every classroom and the upper floors offer contemporary learning environments with expansive views of the lagoon and ocean. The result is a building that we believe captures the essence of the campus and its surroundings.”

LMN Architects has designed over 150 higher education projects on 53 campuses in the United States, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle; the Voxman Music Building at the University of Iowa in Iowa City; the Edward J. Minskoff Pavilion at Michigan State University in East Lansing; and the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business at Clemson University.

Learn more about the project here.