The Shasta Hall Student Housing project, Mogavero Architects’ fifth housing project for UC Davis, involves the design of a replacement building for a Emerson Hall, which was constructed in 1967 by a private party, and later purchased by the University. The initial investigation involved a significant programming exercise to develop a new housing prototype for UC Davis, and an analysis comparing renovation to a demo and new build.
The project is intended to serve both first time freshmen and returning students. Other student residences in the Cuarto Residential District are based on a suite-style model, differing from the more recent “cluster” style housing on campus. The program led to a unit type that is in the middle of the spectrum between suites and traditional dorm style units, providing more privacy, while emphasizing the social interaction common to the traditional dorms.
The building massing recognizes the desired lines from the project toward the “food path” to the Dining Commons and the center of the Campus (SE) and the connection to the Cuarto Quad (NW). The large transparent lounge makes a connection to the Cuarto Quad and serves as architectural eyes, and a clear gateway marking the main entry to the project.
High activity rooms at the entries emphasize the dynamic quality of entry to the courtyard. The building block of the residential floor plans is a unit of two double rooms sharing a compartmentalized bathroom. It is possible to have the bedroom connected to the hall via the hold-open entry door. Several lounges open to the hall act as “living rooms” to encourage social interaction with spaces for studying, lounging and socializing.
The architectural expression is based on a strong distinction between the protective exterior, shielding for privacy and sun protection, and the more welcoming nature of the interior of the courtyard. The transparency of ground floor common spaces and the stacks of multiple lounges form transparent shifting volumes, untethered from the geometric ordered restrictions of the stacked bedroom units.
In September of 2021, the new Shasta Hall opened its doors to receive 1,000 freshman students for the Fall quarter. The project was completed ahead of the initially-proposed schedule, with completion occurring nearly one year early.