Facility Focus (Libraries, Media Centers and Learning Labs)

University of California, Santa Barbara: Davidson Library

University of California, Santa Barbara: Davidson Library interior and exterior images


The $58.5 million renovation of the Davidson Library at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) is designed to enhance teaching, learning and research at UCSB, meeting the needs of the campus’ growing student body. Constructed by C.W. Driver, various renovations including Fire and Life Safety upgrades and seismic retrofits were made in order to bring the existing library up to code while also incorporating a range of collaboration spaces, a café and numerous open-air study areas. C.W. Driver worked closely with the university and library staff throughout the entire project to lessen the impact of construction to students and staff, working around the university’s schedule.

Designed by Pfeiffer Partners, the renovations included the addition of a 62,000-square-foot, three-story building to the north of the library, which houses the Special Research Collections, a collection of rare artifacts and materials available to UCSB students, faculty and the scholarly community. Due to the historic contents, the space requires very tight humidity and temperature controls which are regulated by dedicated HVAC units and a large desiccant wheel dehumidifier. A cold room, designed to imitate a walk-in refrigerator, and a vault area were installed for the most sensitive and valuable items.

Davidson Library achieved LEED Gold certification and joins approximately 24 LEED-certified buildings already at UCSB. To achieve this distinction, C.W. Driver incorporated a number of aspects to optimize energy efficiency, improve indoor environmental quality and maximize the use and reuse of sustainable and local resources. Additionally, UCSB’s Davidson Library was one of the first Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) projects — a delivery method where the construction manager is committed to delivering the project within a guaranteed maximum price — to be utilized within the University of California system.

Despite labor shortages in the region throughout the duration of the project, UCSB’s Davidson Library was completed on-budget, four months ahead of schedule.

This article originally appeared in the issue of .

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