Structure Type: built works - dwellings - housing - student housing

Designers: KieranTimberlake Associates LLP (firm); Stephen Kieran (architect); James Timberlake

Dates: constructed 2012

total floor area: 159,600 sq. ft.

North Torrey Pines Road
University of California, San Diego (UCSD), Campus, La Jolla, CA 92161

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This $50 million student living complex formed a U-shaped arrangement, consisting of four components, a north tower, south tower, and a west building all formed around a large courtyard. Named for a scientist who was an early researcher on global warming, the complex was designed to be water and energy-efficient and non-polluting. Designed to house about 510, second-year students, the Keeling Apartments superceded two dispersed housing facilities used for sophomores, providing concentrated space and increased capacity for the University of California, San Diego's Revelle College.

Building History

The Philadelphia-based architectural firm of KieranTimberlake has distinguished itself for the depth of research it does before designing a new project. In Southern California, the architects isolated several key requirements of the Southern California environment that determined how the building would look and operate; these included responding to the region's paucity of water, a concern for limiting CO2 emissions and the critical need for stormwater management. No central air-conditioning was included in the dorm's plan. Students had operable windows to regulate temperature, and the buildings utilized various shading strategies, such as moveable concrete shutters and brise-soleils, to cut solar heating. All of these energy-saving ideas enabled KieranTimberlake to achieve a LEED-Platinum rating for the Keeling Apartments, the US Green Building Council's highest rating.

This focus on energy-efficiency reinforced the mission of Revelle College, " promote life-changing understanding about issues of sustainability." As Elizabeth Ranieri noted in Architect Magazine: "Student residents are immersed in a year-long, live-and-learn setting focused on environmental responsibility. Each six-person apartment is configured to benefit from natural ventilation, with daylighting and framed landscape views." (See Elizabeth Ranieri, Architect, "Charles David Keeling Apartments," published 08/20/2013, accessed 09/18/2019.)

The north tower was the tallest element of the complex. Its roof contained photo-voltaic collectors, as did that of the west building, that supplied about 6% of the electrical needs of the complex. The south tower had a green roof, that insulated the building and helped capture rainwater for use in the complex. Retention ponds and bioswales were located on the ground level to assist in the capture and filtration of rainwater. Greywater was recycled within the complex for re-use.

The formal vocabularies of the north and south towers and west building were inspired by large-scale housing designs by Le Corbusier and the nearby Salk Institute by Louis Kahn.

For KieranTimberlake, the project team consisted of James Timberlake, Stephen Kieran, Joanne Aitken, Richard Hodge, David Feaster, Zinat Yusufzai, Elizabeth Kahley, Randy Knight, Andrew Schlatter, Derek Brown, and Roderick Bates, Consultants included Sparling/IBE Consulting Engineers (subsidiaries of the Canadian firm, Stantec), electrical engineers; Inertia Engineers, structural engineers; Nasland Engineering, civil engineers; Atelier Ten, environmental design consultants; Candela, architectural lighting consultants; Swinerton Builders, general contractor, construction managers.

Building Notes

The Keeling Apartments were featured in Architect Magazine's 2012 ARCHITECT Annual Design Review

PCAD id: 23114