Tuesday, December 12, 2017

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Robert Schulz, SDSU associate vice president of operations and university architect, shakes hands with AIA San Diego Chapter president Phil Bona (right). Robert Schulz, SDSU associate vice president of operations and university architect, shakes hands with AIA San Diego Chapter president Phil Bona (right).
 


SDSU Receives Regional Architecture Award

SDSU was recently honored with the Patron Award by the American Institute of Architects, San Diego.
By Cory Marshall
 

“SDSU is creating a dynamic academic campus with a focus on sustainability and the integration of interior and exterior spaces for learning, living, working, and playing.”

In a nod to the university’s striking architecture and strong design principles, San Diego State University is the recipient of the 2017 American Institute of Architects, San Diego (AIASD) Patron of the Year award.

The award is given to a corporation, institution or organization, whose projects significantly advance San Diego County’s architectural landscape.

"Our city needs more patrons like San Diego State University who value and weave our history, context and culture into our built environment,” said Buu Huynh, spokesperson for the AIASD Board. "SDSU is creating a dynamic academic campus with a focus on sustainability and the integration of interior and exterior spaces for learning, living, working, and playing.”

According to SDSU’s director of planning, Laura Shinn, the award recognizes the renovation and construction the university has seen over the last five years.

At the center of the architectural accomplishments during that time span is the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union. Completed in 2014, the student union replaced the former Aztec Center. Designers drew inspiration from the university’s historic California Mission Revival architecture with the goal of creating a sense of cohesiveness in the new construction and tying it back to some of the campus’ most beloved buildings.

“It is more competitive than ever to attract and retain students and the overall look of the institution goes into said student attraction and retention,” said Shinn. “The fact that there is a cohesiveness and design of buildings reinforces common mission style and design goals.”

Current construction

Student impact and design aesthetic are guiding current project priorities.

According to Shinn, the look of South Campus Plaza is deliberately urban to reflect the surrounding buildings and downtown-like feel.

Likewise, the Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences Complex is another architecturally ambitious project. The $90 million build reflects a traditional California Mission Revival style on the outside, while the building’s interior features modern classrooms, glass walls, communal spaces and state-of-the-art labs designed to spur collaboration and innovation when it opens in January 2018.

Taking into account San Diego’s temperate climate, architects for SDSU buildings make an effort to incorporate open, outdoor spaces into each new design. That idea goes back to SDSU’s forward-thinking founding fathers, who wanted the university to utilize outdoor spaces for gathering and exercise.

“Campuses are very special places,” said Robert Schulz, associate vice president of operations and university architect, who accepted the AIASD award on behalf of SDSU. “I’ve heard from countless students and alumni that SDSU’s physical campus is integral to their fond memories of the people and experiences that define their memories of the university.”