C.W. Driver Wraps Innovative Learning Pavilion at UCSB

By Eric Althoff

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.—Building firm C.W. Driver Companies has completed work on the $70 million, four-story Interactive Learning Pavilion at UC Santa Barbara. The new facility adds classrooms, lecture halls as well as discussion rooms to this picturesque campus located on a spit of land overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

The 95,000-square-foot structure at UCSB offers approximately 2,000 seats of classroom space across its various lecture halls, including areas dedicated specifically for project-based learning. Each of the building’s 32 classrooms and lecture halls offer capacity anywhere from 30 to 350 students.

The center of the pavilion features a breezeway between two of the major buildings that make up the Interactive Learning Pavilion. Exposed terraces and stairs receive ample sunlight, and the upper levels allow for stellar views of the campus as well as the nearby ocean. In an effort at green building, the pavilion is entirely powered by electricity and no natural gas, which allows the facility to be designated as LEED Gold.

C.W. Driver worked with LMN Architects to realize the project. LMN Architects is headquartered in Seattle. Their design for the learning pavilion took into consideration “the history of UCSB and its seascape vistas [so] the building has been envisioned as a microcosm of the societal and natural conditions around the site,” as per the firm’s website.

According to personnel from C.W. Driver, realizing the learning pavilion required extensive planning due to the site’s centrality within the bike-friendly UCSB campus.

“The project…required an early re-route of bicycle and pedestrian lanes, as well as planning for just-in-time deliveries in the early morning to keep clear of student traffic,” said Jeff Bara, Senior Project Manager at C.W. Driver. “We worked closely with the university to develop off-site staging where delivery vehicles could enter the campus individually, therefore limiting the number of trucks on campus at any given time and minimizing the impact of construction on the community.”

For its work at the pavilion, C.W. Driver was awarded the Liberty Mutual Insurance Safety Commendation Gold Award from the University Controlled Insurance Program (UCIP), which recognizes a project demonstrating an outstanding safety record.

“Looking at the early plan sets, we knew we were building something unique and beautiful,” Tom Jones, Project Executive with C.W. Driver, said in a subsequent statement emailed to School Construction News. “Speaking for the management and crews, we were all motivated by the stunning design and reaching the finish product. The end result was worth it.”

C.W. Driver Companies has been in operation in California since 1919. Their various educational projects across the Golden State include the Pomona-Pitzer College Rains Athletic Center; CSU Dominguez Hill’s Science and Innovation Building; CSU San Bernardino’s Coyote Village and Coyote Commons; MiraCosta College Chemistry & Biotechnology Building; Orange Coast College’s Language Arts and Social Science Building, Kinesiology and Athletics Complex and Student Union Complex; Chapman University’s Keck Center for Science and Engineering; and Cal Poly Pomona’s Student Services Building.

The firm is ranked in Engineering News Record’s Top 150 General Contractors and Top 100 Construction Managers. The firm operates from offices in Los Angeles, Rancho Cucamonga, Anaheim, San Diego and Carlsbad.