Miller Hull

Structural & Materials Engineering Building

University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA
Designed to foster collaboration among arts and sciences in the Bauhaus tradition
Client University of California, San Diego
Certifications LEED Gold
Size 165,000 SF
Completion 2012


The site for the Structural & Materials Engineering Building sits between arts and engineering quads, a perfect location to realize the Dean’s vision of creating a Bauhaus environment where housing multiple disciplines in one facility leads to serendipitous encounters and cross-disciplinary sharing of ideas. While the primary use of the building is engineering research, the building also creates opportunities for mixing both among and between departmental faculty and principal investigators.

From an engineering perspective, the facility provides the University with a platform to delve deeper into nanotube technologies and new composite structure materials for the aerospace, computer and electrical equipment and construction industries. In addition to research laboratory spaces, the facility offers space for high-bay testing equipment, an auto-clave area and long term testing suites for material processing as well as digital imaging computer rooms, large workshop spaces for student projects, and offices for staff and research faculty. Co-located with the Department of Structural Engineering is a portion of the Visual Arts Department. Intending to bring together the Digital Arts and Engineering programs, shared space needs include computer labs, video editing suites, presentation and gallery spaces as well as faculty and graduate student studios.

With these uses, the building is designed to support the Bauhaus vision in a number of ways. Laboratories and offices are housed in separate wings, connected by a large social mixing space. This approach allows for interaction among principal investigators and graduate student assistants. The most active and visible program elements for both the engineering and visual arts departments, the structural visualization lab, the visual arts gallery and the black box presentation theater are located adjacent to each other and connected by visible, public areas of the building. The mixing of people and ideas will be further enhanced when light rail comes to the campus, as the first stop on campus will be this site. A future building phase will act as a gateway to the campus at this location.

Our firm designed this 165,000 square foot research laboratory in association with Safdie Rabines of San Diego (consulting architect).