RIDC Mill 19 – ULI Americas Awards for Excellence Finalist
Learn more about 2023 ULI Americas Awards for Excellence Finalist, RIDC Mill 19 (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania).
May 1, 2023
Location: Merced, California
Developer: Plenary Properties Merced (Lead Developer, Equity Member, and Financial Arranger)
Designers: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (Master Planner, Lead Design Architect and Structural Engineer); WRNS Studio (Academic Classroom Architect); HOK (Student Life Facility Architect), Page Southerland Page (Student Housing Architect); Mahlum Architects (Student Housing Architect); Arup (Infrastructure and Engineering)
Site Size: 27.5 Acres
Through a fully integrated, collaborative design process, the 2020 Project incorporated private sector innovation and efficiencies with design, management, financing, and implementation—necessary to achieve the University’s ambitious development schedule while maintaining flexibility within the plan to accommodate future needs. This delivery method deferred initial costs while simultaneously increasing student enrollment. Initiated as a 2015 competition among multifaceted development teams, the 2020 Project was delivered in three phases. The first delivery in 2018 included 700 new on-campus beds, a 600-seat multipurpose dining facility, classrooms, and over 900 new parking spaces. The second delivery in 2019 provided 150,800 assignable square feet with a wet laboratory, dry computational laboratory, and faculty office building. Completed in Fall 2020, the third delivery provides 478,000 assignable square feet that include a wet laboratory, faculty office, and classroom building; 980 new on-campus beds; 630 parking spaces; a conference center; a dedicated transit hub for buses; a new wellness center; an enrollment center; and athletics facilities.
Designed as a compact, pedestrian-oriented campus, peripheral parking maintains a highly walkable campus core, with “main streets” and plazas closed to vehicular traffic. Service roads are located under the Academic Quad, maximizing pedestrian access to the dining Pavilion and 3 new science buildings. Athletics and recreational facilities are consolidated in a precinct, reducing the impact of vehicles, and encouraging the use of bicycles and scooters. Inspired by the simplicity of durable agricultural sheds and silos found throughout the Central Valley, architectural design elements increase resilience and functionality according to the local climate while providing beautiful learning spaces. Exterior pathways, including the main thoroughfare, Academic Walk, are shaded by buildings, covered arcades, and trees to provide thermal comfort to pedestrians throughout campus while also adding variety and richness to the ground plane.
Selective use of vibrant colors enlivens the experience and gives identity to each of the buildings and districts within the extended campus. Classrooms are layered into every building, from residence halls to research facilities. Operational facilities such as the Central Plant are positioned at the center of campus as sustainable learning opportunities for students. The Pavilion, a new social hub fosters social engagement through large light-filled spaces with flexible seating. Research facilities organized into modules of wet and dry laboratories with open circulation networks encourage interdisciplinary collaboration and discovery.
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