Award-winning KTGY Group, Inc. Architecture and Planning, is pleased to announce that its third student housing project at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) has been completed and has been awarded Gold Certification under the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED rating system. This brings the total number of KTGY-designed UCI student housing to nearly 5,000 beds. Austin, Texas-based American Campus Communities, Inc. (NYSE: ACC), one of the nation's largest owners, developers and managers of high-quality student housing, developed the $137 million project, which features two student residential communities totaling 1,760 beds and a seven-level parking garage. The new KTGY-designed campus project highlights the many new amenities and green features that will be the new benchmark for future campus developments across the U.S.
American Campus Communities (americancampus.com) has worked with KTGY to complete two other housing facilities on the campus totaling 3,326 beds: Vista del Campo, which opened in 2004, and Vista del Campo Norte, which opened in 2006. These projects have garnered numerous accolades including Best Student Housing Rental Apartment Community by the National Association of Home Builders and the California Homebuilding Foundation Gold Nugget Award.
The completion of Phase III substantially increases the on-campus residential community at UCI and is situated in close proximity to promote the use of public transportation, bicycles and walkways. The two communities are located on separate sites on UCI's east campus. The first is, Puerto del Sol, with two four-story buildings on the former site of an under-utilized parking lot. Its convenient campus location and close proximity to the adjacent shopping center make it an ideal setting to live, work, play and shop. The 562-bed apartments, which are specifically designed for graduate students, edge along Campus Drive and provide a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartment units. The units have upgraded finishes including carpet in the bedrooms and hardwood-style flooring in living rooms and kitchens. The 4,250-square-foot graduate center offers study and meeting rooms, a business center and a multipurpose event room with kitchen. Outdoor amenities include social areas and bike storage.
"Laundry is available in each building and common space is open space between buildings that create unique outdoor 'rooms' for student life activities with gathering spaces around outdoor fireplaces, barbeques and casual seating under enormous umbrellas," said KTGY's Chris Texter, AIA, LEED AP and principal, and one of the designers on the project.
Daniel McAllister, Architect and principal with KTGY, and the lead designer on the project, said that UCI grad students, who often are paying their own way, want more affordable housing and sparse amenities to keep the rent down. This has led to the design of efficiency studio units as an option and some two-bedroom units that they can share with another grad student to reduce rents further. There are the usual standard one-bedroom units as well.
The other student housing project, Camino del Sol, an 1,198-bed undergraduate complex, is unique to UCI student living. While it is designed with undergraduates in mind, it brings the first townhome-style living to campus. The three-story dwellings have shared kitchen, living and dining on the ground floor with two, three, or four bedrooms upstairs. The units have private bedrooms and the option of private bathroom as well as an in-suite laundry. The undergraduate community center boasts a 10,250-square-foot community building with social lounges, a business center, computer lab, and conference, meeting and study spaces. Outdoor amenities include a swimming pool, spa, sundeck, a poolside kitchen and outdoor dining.
The new undergraduate housing village completes the connection between Phase II housing, which was also designed by KTGY, and the campus core. Not only does it provide additional undergraduate housing but it also improves and continues vital pedestrian and bicycle links. Both communities are served by the new, seven-story centralized parking structure with 1,803 parking spaces designed to increase overall land-use efficiency. The structure was designed to accommodate surface parking removed by the building of the structure, which also serves the very popular Anteater Recreation Center (ARC). A campus shuttle bus stops at the main pedestrian lobby to provide door to door service. Bicycle storage is located near the entry to provide multi-modal access opportunities. The entire structure is set back along a natural creek to provide clear views of the ARC for visitors arriving from the north side of the campus along California Avenue.
“The teamwork approach by the owner, client, general contractor and architect led to the success of obtaining LEED Gold certification," said Texter. "This approach enabled KTGY to link together American Campus Community's goals, Richard Demerjian, UCI's Campus LEED Professional, their sustainable vision, and the design team's applied knowledge into a highly sustainable community within budget and on schedule."
“In addition to its sustainable design and LEED Gold certification, transforming commuters into residents is one of the greenest actions any campus can take. This project certainly sets the bar high for student housing across the nation,” McAllister stated.
"Students are expecting environmental responsibility from their campus, and certainly housing is such a large part of a student’s college experience. If housing is new, students expect a green building,” said Texter.
Phase III’s residential communities optimize energy and water efficiencies; reduce light pollution, waste water and construction waste; and utilize regional materials. The project design team also designed and specified cool roofs, and parking with shading to lower heat island effects. Other green features include recycling more than 75 percent of construction waste and using materials containing recycled content throughout the projects were key factors, even with the use of conventional wood frame construction. The project is also a part of UCI’s green building education program that includes sustainable curriculum and building tours.
“Today's sophisticated student consumers demand more and expect the modern conveniences they grew up with. Private bedrooms, private baths, Internet connectivity, fully-equipped kitchens, spacious living areas and resort-style amenities are seen as necessities – and universities are catching on. They know that to recruit and retain students, they must offer modern housing options that support the student’s academic mission. With college enrollment at an all-time high, universities are turning to private developers to meet this rising demand for amenity-rich student housing both on and off campus,” explained McAllister.
KTGY has won countless awards for its many campus, mixed-income, affordable, workforce, and senior housing projects. KTGY recently completed a new campus housing development for professors and staff of the San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD) as well as commenced construction on a 400-bed eco-friendly student housing community at Santa Clara University (SCU) in Northern California. Additionally, KTGY is currently designing three off-campus student apartment projects near several impacted campuses in the prime markets of San Diego, San Gabriel Valley and Los Angeles. The sites are directly adjacent to or within ¾ mile of the main campuses.
Established in 1991, KTGY Group, Inc. (KTGY.com), Architecture and Planning, provides comprehensive planning and award-winning architectural design services for residential communities, retail, hospitality, mixed-use and related specialty developments. Serving clients worldwide, KTGY maintains offices in Irvine, Oakland and Santa Monica, Calif., Denver, Colo., and Tysons Corner, Va.