Project File: Showcasing timber

The University of California — San Diego campus built new residence halls, apartment suites and dining facilities to meet the increased need for on-campus student housing. The 466,000-square-foot project includes 19 buildings and is situated on 12.5 acres.

Although steel framing originally was considered for the structures, the architect and engineers instead specified laminated timber because of its advantages for strength, cost and appearance.

The project includes a dining hall, the Great Hall, five residence halls, the International House and a three-story administration building. The dining hall and Great Hall are focal points for the college's north-south axis. Both buildings feature 30-foot glass curtainwalls with unobstructed views to outdoor patios and terraces.

The long-span glued laminated exposed roof timbers range in size from 16 to 109 feet in length, and are 6¼ inches wide by 48 inches deep. The 16,500-square-foot Great Hall features 10 curved laminated timbers, and the 40,000-square-foot dining hall has 11 timbers. Another warm interior touch is the 3-inch by 8-inch T&G exposed glued laminated decking over the glulam timbers.

The use of engineered wood provided a savings of about 30 percent in materials and labor over the cost of steel framing and metal stud construction.

The architect for this project is Moshe Safdie and Associates (Sommerville, Mass.) The local architectural coordinator is Safdie Rabiens Architects (San Diego).

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