University Extension Building opens at UC Irvine


Design fosters intellectual and social interaction

SEATTLE, Nov. 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — LMN Architects, a multidisciplinary design firm with a reputation for community-focused projects of all scales, and California-based builder Hathaway Dinwiddie, announce the completion of the University Extension Building for the Irvine Division of Continuing Education (DCE) at the University of California, Irvine. The $39 million building—a collaboration between designers LMN Architects, builder Hathaway Dinwiddie, and architect of record Carrier Johnson + Culture—will serve as the heart of UC Irvine’s University Extension Village, establishing an academic and social nexus for students pursuing life-long learning opportunities.

“Our new facility brings together the best tools, resources and technology to help us expand our services. It allows us to build upon our legacy of providing decades of excellence to working professionals and students at the local, regional and global levels,” said Gary W. Matkin, Ph.D., Dean of DCE.

Woven into the campus fabric and responsive to the local climate, the five-story, 75,000-square-foot Continuing Education building combines indoor and outdoor spaces together into a fluid pattern of student interactions, united by a central outdoor courtyard. The DCE program is focused on traditional and non-traditional students, through an educational approach emphasizing connectivity. With this new building, the DCE program establishes a distinct identity within the UCI framework.

The building is located on the rapidly developing east side of the 1,500-acre Irvine campus. The U-shaped facility provides a strong orientation to the campus center, connecting to the academic core of the campus via a new pedestrian bridge. Classrooms, offices, collaboration spaces, a coffee shop, flexible event spaces, media facilities, and informal lounges in the building expand the program’s offerings which annually attract 15,000 students worldwide.

“Social engagement forms the backbone of the design. Multiple circulation pathways and open, day-lit community spaces promote mixing between students and faculty, and the various academic programs,” notes George Shaw, FAIA, Partner for LMN Architects. An expansive 6,150-square-foot central courtyard organizes the design, resulting in an outdoor living room that instills a sense of connectivity for the program as a whole, as well as for the larger campus and surrounding Irvine landscape. A broad stairway rising from the courtyard rewards users with continuously shifting vantage points, while the glass-enclosed coffee shop embedded beneath the stair structure provides a constant point of activation within the courtyard.

“The design combines interior academic functionality and exterior community spaces linked with the broader campus, along with sustainable design strategies, to create an integrated user experience connected to the local ecology,” notes Mark Reddington, FAIA, Partner for LMN Architects.

Stacked arcades surrounding the courtyard create an additional layer of connection between floors and take advantage of the temperate climate. Lower-level arcades open directly to the courtyard through an open portico, while upper-level arcades are enclosed in glass, providing acoustical privacy and abundant natural light for administrative and faculty functions. The cast-in-place concrete structure employs a flexible column grid with shear walls limited to the building core, optimizing functional flexibility and capacity to adapt to future program changes. The flat-slab floor structure maximizes floor-to-ceiling views to further enhance indoor-outdoor connectivity. Exterior stairs, sunshades, trellises and balconies provide mid-scale articulation that animates the architectural expression while modulating environmental influences to create comfortable interior and exterior spaces.

Sustainability strategies include a variety of energy efficient lighting and ventilation systems, most notably in the design’s response to the climate of Southern California and its indoor-outdoor continuity. The central courtyard soaks up sunlight from the west, while mitigating the impact of glare and heat through a large brise-soleil patterned with 25-kW photovoltaic panels, which in the first month of operation produced 18% of the building’s energy needs. The spatial configuration of the courtyard and the solar panel trellis were carefully calibrated to achieve a comfortable, inviting combination of shade and filtered sunlight at all times of day. The sense of immersion in the ecology and landscape of the region continues throughout the interior, with floor-to-ceiling windows capturing daylight and striking views that impart a unique character to each space within the building. The project is pursuing LEED Platinum Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

Project Team
LMN Architects (Design Architect)
Hathaway Dinwiddie (Design/Build Contractor)
Carrier Johnson + Culture (Architect of Record)
DCI Engineers (Structural Engineer)
Alvine Engineering (MEP Engineer)

About LMN
Seattle-based LMN Architects specializes in the planning and design of significant public and private projects, including convention centers, cultural arts venues, education facilities, office buildings, multi-family housing, hotels, transit stations, mixed-use developments and other urban environments that celebrate and enrich communities. The firm is the recipient of the 2016 American Institute of Architects Architecture Firm Award.

About Hathaway Dinwiddie
San Francisco-based Hathaway Dinwiddie specializes in building significant public and private projects including cultural arts venues, student housing, educational facilities, office buildings, hotels, health and life sciences buildings, pharmaceutical projects, and mixed-use developments. The firm was named 2016 ENR California Builder of the Year.

About the University of California, Irvine
Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit

For further information contact:
Matt Anderson
Anderson Strategic, Inc.