Allied Works Architecture was a finalist in an international design competition for a new Institute of the Arts and Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz. As a new type of intellectual center focusing on both the arts and sciences and their relationship to other disciplines, the Institute serves as a catalyst for interdisciplinary programs, and a venue to showcase for new work by students and faculty. Serving as a forum for ideas from all areas of study, the new Institute is conceived as a front porch to the community and region, as well as a crossroads and connector at the heart of the campus.
Sited at the intersection of the three distinct ecological conditions—grasslands, oak ecotone, and second-growth redwood forest—Allied Works’ design amplifies the unique qualities and forces at work on the site. The building creates a transparent edge that moves along the forest boundary, flowing with its natural curves and contours while creating new gathering spaces and points of connection to the campus.
The new Institute is conceived as an open loft space with rooms of varied height, scale, transparency and light. It is a spatial laboratory: a place in which to explore, and ultimately, to propose new ideas. In its siting, form and structure, the building is a framework for innovation and dialogue, a place to both generate new work and bring new ideas to light.