University of California, Santa Barbara

Interactive Learning Pavilion

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University of California, Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, located on the California coast, is also known as the “American Riviera.” Residents, including students at the University of California’s Santa Barbara campus, enjoy a balmy climate and stunning views of the ocean, shoreline cliffs, and the surrounding Santa Ynex Mountains. When the University commissioned a new Interactive Learning Pavilion to meet the needs of its growing student population, LMN ensured that the architecture took its cues from the surrounding landscape and fantastic weather. Entro had the pleasure (and the challenge) of designing a wayfinding system for the pavilion’s unique outdoor circulation corridors.
  • Client

    University of California

  • Location

    Santa Barbara, California

  • Sector


  • Discipline


  • Architect

    LMN Architects

  • Photography

    Tim Griffith

Inside Out

The Interactive Learning Pavilion consists of two buildings containing five lecture halls, three active learning spaces, and 20 classrooms. The design is oriented towards outdoor spaces. Students access spaces in the two buildings by open-air circulation corridors with stairs, terraces, bridges, and laid back outdoor social spaces.
This configuration posed unique challenges for the design and placement of wayfinding signage. Durable materials for all sign types, including room names and numbers, ensure the signage will hold up to the outdoors. In conventional buildings, we often suspend directional signs from ceilings or walls – but as the architecture of this space is open, with few dividing walls and ceilings, we used free-standing signs near stairs and mounted to the exterior walls, always ensuring that pathways remained unobstructed and accessible by using the smallest possible signage footprint.
“The site is so spectacular that we had to reconsider some of our basic assumptions about building design. For instance, the building doesn’t have a front door! We wanted the building’s circulation to feel like an extension of the campus public spaces—which is what a classroom building should be.”

Stephen Van Dyck, Lead project architect at LMN Architects

Responding to the Local Landscape

The Pavilion’s distinctive structure, colour, and material palette responds to the geological surroundings; its canyon-like form evokes the layered sandstone cliffs of Santa Barbara. Wayfinding signs reflect this architectural vision with softly curving accents of the shoreline in natural, earthy hues of sand and stone.

The Interactive Learning Pavilion welcomes over 25,000 students with expansive views, intuitive wayfinding, and a striking design that captures the essence of the campus and surroundings.

Find out more from LMN, Azure, and The Architect’s Newspaper.

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