UC Santa Cruz Kresge College — Santa Cruz, CA

Renewing Community of Independent Thinkers

 
Mass Timber Residence Halls among the redwoods at new UC Santa Cruz Kresge College Renewal
Size
New Construction - 110,600 SF
Renovations - 150,000 SF
Architects
New Construction - Studio Gang
Renovations - TEF
Contractor
Swinerton
Mass Timber Supplier
Structurlam
Sustainable Benchmarks:
LEED Platinum
Net Zero Energy

Kresge College stands for a community of independent thinkers with an experimental merging of academic, social, and environmental space. Its hallmark 1970s features include skewed angles, piazzas, and a pedestrian bridge through a redwood grove. As original structures near the end of their lifespans, UC Santa Cruz has invested in a renewal project to sustainably carry Kresge forward into the 21st century. New additions include a three-story academic building, three five-story residence halls, and a single-story town hall. The project will also refurbish and reprogram 12 existing structures. Through a Design-Build delivery method, Holmes is providing overall fire and life safety code consulting as well as structural engineering for the mass timber components.

UC Santa Cruz Kresge College Mass Timber Residence Halls Under Construction
UC Santa Cruz Kresge College Students in Plaza by Redwoods with Mass Timber Components

During construction documentation, the project team sought a more proactive fire and life safety consultant: Holmes was selected for its responsiveness and ability to perform design reviews under tight scheduling. Holmes provided a swift code-based analysis for compliance with an emphasis on egress, fire ratings for assembly spaces, and input on buildable construction types—helping move Kresge College through permitting and construction.

Holmes was brought on by Swinerton as Specialty Structural Engineer of Record for the Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) components throughout the three residence halls and the academic building. Holmes’ structural and fire engineers collaborated to maintain optimal CLT exposure throughout these buildings. Solutions showcase the warmth of wood through diaphragm undersides and glulam beams while achieving the required fire ratings and maintaining structural integrity after any fire-induced char.

Mass Timber Tall Timber Dorms California
UC Santa Cruz Kresge Dorm Mass Timber Construction California Redwoods
UC Santa Cruz Kresge Existing Buildings Plaza Students Redwood
UC Santa Cruz Kresge Existing Buildings Plaza Students Redwood

Structurally, Holmes designed CLT-paneled roofs, floors and supporting glulam beams for a cohesive campus feel. Careful detailing minimizes beam-to-column and column-to-floor connections with hidden fasteners, creating the illusion of floating glulam columns. For beam-to-column connections, Ricon connections recess into the beam concealing hardware. Base connections will be drilled underneath the column and grouted to a rod, fixed to the floor with gypcrete encasing the column. Glazing attachments directly point back to the timber structure.

UC Santa Cruz Kresge College Renewal Breezeway with Redwoods Mass Timber and Students

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