Rita Atkinson Residences, UCSD

Distinguished Building Award Submission

The University Master Plan envisions a linear academic mall defined by four buildings – one completed and another under construction – on a sloping hillside. The mall remains level while the hill drops away. To terminate the mall, as the grade continues to drop, the Plan calls for a symmetrical residential tower of nine floors.

The building, nicknamed Rita, responds to this plan in three ways. First, a horizontal datum is defined by three green roofs at the fourth floor level – at the same elevation as the developing mall. The form of the nine story west wing is carved away to emphasis this datum. Second, the east wall of the nine story wing aligns with the east side of the mall’s academic buildings. Finally, a slender tower at the apex of the “L” shaped plan, marks the center line of the mall.

Departing from the Plan, the nine story wing is an asymmetrical terminus, the open side of the “L” embracing a large grove of eucalyptus trees covering the hillside. This contrast between building mass and the natural environment subtly directs the eye to the west and the Pacific Ocean.

The building achieved LEED Gold certification.

Valerio Dewalt Train Associates
University of California, San Diego
General contractor
Webcor Builders
La Jolla, California