Credit: University of California, Santa Cruz

The University of California, Santa Cruz, announced the three finalists in a search for the architect firm or firms to design the campus’s new Institute of the Arts and Sciences. The finalists are Portland, Ore.–based Allied Works Architecture, New York's Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, and the team of Vancouver, British Columbia–based Patkau Architects and San Francisco–based Fong & Chan Architects.

The institute initially received 39 entries in the competition and narrowed down the list to seven in January. Campus architect John Barnes, AIA, and an advisory group of administrators, staff, and faculty chose the three finalists based on portfolios that exhibited strong experience in designing museums, educational and cultural projects, and an understanding of the relationship between landscape and built form.

Credit: University of California, Santa Cruz

According to UC Santa Cruz, the Institute will be "the first of its kind"—an intellectual hub centered around the relationship between the arts and sciences. The 30,000-square-foot facility, serving as a “public square for the university,” will be located in the geographic center of the campus, between the Great Meadow and the Jordan Gulch ravine, and on the edge of the campus arts cluster.

The building—currently estimated at $32-40 million in construction costs—will include exhibition galleries, seminar rooms and public event spaces, collection storage, studios and offices, a café, and ample public-gathering areas. The facility will be designed to host site-specific installations, seminars, hands-on research, events, traveling art exhibitions, and projects linked to the university’s curriculum drawn from the collections of all UC campuses. The Institute of the Arts and Sciences will be the only building on campus that incorporates the three primary ecological conditions of the campus: grasslands, oak ecotone, and second-growth redwood forest, according to Barnes.

Principals and staff members from each of the three finalists visited the campus on March 4 for meetings with UC Santa Cruz project leadership to discuss the plans for the new building. On April 3, the firms will return to the campus to present their initial concepts—first to Barnes and the advisory group—and later, to the public. UC Santa Cruz will announce the architect for the Institute by the end of April.