UCSD MEDICAL CENTER SWITCH STATION

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

 

project information

  • OWNER - UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO

  • SIZE - 3,670 SQUARE FEET

  • COST - $11 MILLION (INCLUDES ELECTRICAL INFRASTRUCTURE)

  • COMPLETED - JUNE 2014

The UCSD Medical Center Switch Station is an $11M project which provides a new switch center station, new electrical duct banks throughout the campus and also upgrades the Medical Center’s electrical capabilities in anticipation of completion of the new Jacobs Medical Center Tower. The switch station building is prominently located on Medical Center Drive and is the first structure seen by anyone entering the medical campus. Thus, JKA worked very closely with the University to create a dynamic design for the utilitarian structure. Board formed concrete combined in concert with highly sustainable and aesthetic rammed earth are the materials used to achieve this unique architectural character. The rammed earth utilizes the actual soil spoils from the building to produce a beautifully striated and durable wall material that compliments the board formed concrete and is crowned with butt glass glazing. The landforms around the switch center were also molded so that they appear to transform into the rammed earth which wraps the building. The overall effect is truly one of a kind and a definitive showpiece for the entrance to the Medical Campus. Project completion is expected in Summer 2014.

 

This project speaks to the creative and collaborative approach to design that UCSD has adopted over the years. Rather than having a mundane utilitarian electrical structure at the entrance to the medical center (think CMU block building), UCSD elected to use unique materials to achieve a truly eye catching monument. The design process also included charettes with other architects currently working on campus projects. Building materials consist of board formed concrete walls with a rammed earth accent wall wrapping the structure and butt glazed glass. The rammed earth wall also extends in a curvilinear form to meet the native landscape design and at the same time conceals electrical equipment. Spoils from the site were used to create the rammed earth with the natural color and striations showcased. Rammed earth is a highly sustainable building technique and the design team actually had to write the code which governs its design as this was the first building to use this material in the City of San Diego and no parameters existed. The landforms surrounding the building were detailed to look as if they give way to the rammed earth. The project also included miles of electrical infrastructure running throughout the campus which upgrade the utility in anticipation of the medical center expansion. This work needed to be carefully phased and timely completed to minimize disruption during the school year.

 

This project speaks to a creative and collaborative approach to design. Rather than having a mundane utilitarian electrical structure at the entrance to the medical center (think CMU block building), the client and design team elected to use unique materials to achieve a truly eye catching monument. The design process also included charettes with other architects currently working on other campus projects. Building materials consist of board formed concrete walls with a rammed earth accent wall wrapping the structure and butt glazed glass. The rammed earth wall also extends in a curvilinear form to meet the native landscape design and at the same time conceals electrical equipment. Spoils from the site were used to create the rammed earth with the natural color and striations showcased. Rammed earth is a highly sustainable building technique and the design team actually had to write the code which governs its design as this was the first building to use this material in the City of San Diego and no parameters existed. The landforms surrounding the building were detailed to look as if they give way to the rammed earth. The project also included miles of electrical infrastructure running throughout the campus which upgrade the utility in anticipation of expansion. This work needed to be carefully phased and timely completed to minimize disruption during the time when students would be in session.