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Price Center Expansion
Design Earns Prestigious Architecture Award

By Paul Mueller May 31, 2005

The San Diego Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) awarded the Price Center Expansion an "Honor Award" -- the highest award -- in the un-built category at a ceremony earlier this month. The award-winning architect is Mehrdad Yazdani of Cannon Design, who worked closely with students, faculty and staff on UCSD's Building Advisory Committee (BAC).

Boone Hellmann, assistant vice chancellor for design and construction and lead university architect, and Sue Peerson, director of campus physical planning, can also take some credit for the honor.

The project is presently in the design phase, with groundbreaking scheduled for January 2006 and completion set for December 2007.

"The synergy between the architects and their UCSD clients is the reason for the project's success," said Carmen Vazquez, associate vice chancellor of student life and co-chair of the BAC.

"Typically, this award is given to completed projects," said Gary Ratcliff, director of Student Affairs, "which makes it all the more special. Mehrdad is a rising star in the architecture world."

The impetus for expansion of the Price Center came from the Associated Students, who in 2002 established a taskforce, conducted a survey, and got students to approve a $39 quarterly fee to help fund the expansion, said Ratcliff. "Students have played a lead role in developing the design, and the majority of this BAC is composed of students."

The expansion will add more restaurants and retail services - including a bank, hair stylists and a larger Post Office - as well as a 5,000-square-foot grocery store. Also planned is more space for student organizations, more meeting rooms, more lounge, study and computing space, and a 24-hour space that will include late-night dining.

The Price Center will nearly double in size, says Ratcliff, and the designers focused on lots of windows, lot of ways to get in and out, and a mix of active "see-and-be-seen" spaces and more contemplative spaces - and the building will be "green," more energy-efficient.

Both the Price Center and the Student Center will be expanded under the plans developed by the students. The overall plan, says Ratcliff, "calls for developing the neighborhood as a lively urban environment. UCSD is not a traditional college-town setting where the campus is bordered by a downtown with shops and restaurants. The university is creating this environment in the center of campus."

Yazdani, the project architect, has been listed as one of Los Angeles' 25 most highly regarded designers by the Los Angeles Business Journal. His work has been featured in international publications including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Progressive Architecture, I'ARCA, Architecture, Architectural Design, Casabella, The Architectural Review, GA Houses, and Kenchiku Bunka.

Other changes associated with the expansion include growth of the Bookstore (funded by the Bookstore), moving the Cross Cultural Center to the Price Center addition (funded by the Chancellor's office), expanding departments within Student Life (funded by Student Affairs) and moving Alumni Association offices to the addition (funded by the Alumni Association).


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