The new Coastal Biology Building (CCB) houses the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB), which was previously divided between this satellite campus and the main campus. The university wanted to unite the department to increase collaboration and interdisciplinary research. As a satellite campus, there was a critical need for spaces that encourage the social and academic life of the department, and to create a coherent sense of place.
There was also a strong desire to immerse the department in the ecosystems studied by locating the EEB on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Coast. The site was highly impacted agricultural land (a Brussels sprout monoculture), and the goal was to strengthen and restore its ecological assets and function. This restoration included seven distinct habitat types and allowed the new campus to be incorporated into the adjacent Younger Lagoon Natural Reserve. The department has embraced field-based learning, and the readily accessible wetlands, lagoons, coastline, and other natural habitats provide ample opportunity. The CBB contains research labs, a seawater classroom, meeting and teaching spaces, offices, greenhouses, and other support facilities.
Since opening, the CBB’s collaborative spaces have fully come to life with students, faculty, and researchers, providing a much-needed social heart for the Coastal Science Campus. The department chair notes, “The beauty of the interior space, the porous boundary between the interior design and the restored landscape surrounding us, the creative use of light…these things raise our spirits and provide our work environment with a sense of balance and possibility.”
Regarding the goal to connect users to the ecology of the space, the department chair said, “The building is remarkable in the way it represents the spirit of the work it supports: discovery, celebration, and protection of the organisms of the land and sea. The building’s details—the wave ceiling and exterior wall, the spectacular views, the green roof and integrated seasonal wetland—remind us every day of why we are here.”
EHDD; Swinerton Builders; Mar Structural Design; Cammisa & Wipf; Taylor Engineering; Walker Macy Landscape Architects; Jacobs Consultancy