I know that sometimes students look around our campus and its variety of building shapes, sizes and colors and wonder why they are the way they are. Looking at Physical Sciences North extending out from the Chemistry Building like a rose growing in a garbage heap, I can’t help but question some of the previous decisions made on this topic. After I was elected last spring to Legislative Council, I decided that I wanted to be the undergraduate representative to the Design Review Committee, which has oversight on these matters. I heard lots of interesting things from the previous representative about the issues, decisions and projects he worked on and I knew I’d love it.
Since I was appointed to the committee at the end of last year, we have looked at project plans for all over campus. As we discuss the building designs with each architecture firm, I try to look out for the needs of the students. So far my big issues have been bike parking and bikepaths, as well as the more aesthetic issues of how buildings will look with their surroundings.
In December, an architect commented that we should get rid of a section of bikepath, and I was glad I could tell him he was wrong. I cannot imagine what people would do if there weren’t a bike path running from San Rafael Hall to the Events Center. It was a bad idea.
I was happy to find out during the January meeting that one of the goals of the DRC this year is to create a campuswide design plan, which will be completed in June. This plan will lay out the big picture, guide the path for future building projects and should create a cohesive look for the campus. Over the summer, Chancellor Yang will bring this plan to the UC Regents, who have become increasingly interested in the overall designs of the different campuses and how the buildings relate to each other.
In our next meeting on Feb. 21, we will be discussing a large range of projects including the new San Clemente housing plans, Arbor expansion, Materials Research Lab expansion and campus lighting. San Clemente, which will be built on a portion of Storke Field, is interesting because of the impact it will have on bikers, traffic, playing fields and the whole aesthetic of the area. The chosen building site will alter the current bikepaths, field location and more. The firms designing the project are using sustainable development practices, which have reduced environmental impact compared to traditional building methods. The project will provide 972 graduate student beds. I invite students who are interested in finding out more about the plan or who would like to voice their input to come to the meeting or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another project that is in the works is the Student Resources Building. In 2001, students voted to pay for the SRB with $33.33 in each Fall, Winter and Spring Quarter, and $21.49 during Summer Sessions, starting in 2004. Since students are paying for this building, I think it is essential that we give our input on the project. This building is for us, and we should make sure that it functions to serve us well. Last week Sasaki Associates, the firm designing the SRB, met with various students and administrators who are continually involved with the details of the project, but more student input is always welcomed. The DRC will be meeting with Sasaki Associates at our March 21 meeting.
Our meeting space is a bit hard to find at first, since it is hidden in Facilities Management, which is behind the baseball and softball stadiums and across from the campus police building. There isn’t easy bike access, but it is worth the journey. Without a doubt, I am glad to be sitting on the DRC. Although the projects we work on are not often things that I will be around to see completed, I enjoy being involved in the planning process of so much of the future of our campus. I hope that my insights will prevent future designs from eliminating bikepaths and that I can help avoid architectural monstrosities.
The DRC meets Feb. 21 and March 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Physical Facilities Learning Center, Building 594.
Alexis Krieg is an off-campus representative for Legislative Council.