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May 25, 2020
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Draftsmen & Craftsmen


Renovation of the Davidson Library at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) has been completed. The $58.5 mil project was done by C.W. Driver Companies.

The project included the addition of a 62k sf, three-story building to the north of the library, which houses the Special Research Collections, a collection of rare artifacts and unique materials available for use by UCSB students, faculty and the scholarly community, in addition to various renovations throughout additional portions of the facility. The upgraded library is designed to enhance teaching, learning and research at UCSB and meet the needs of the campus’ growing student body.

C.W. Driver’s scope of work included Fire and Life Safety upgrades, seismic retrofits and various renovations to bring the existing library up to code and add a range of collaboration spaces, a café and numerous open-air study areas. In addition, C.W. Driver completed the buildout of the three-story, museum-like Special Research Collections facility. Despite labor shortages throughout the duration of the project in the region, UCSB’s Davidson Library was completed on-budget, four months ahead of schedule.

C.W. Driver worked closely with the University and library staff throughout the entire project to lessen the impact of construction to students and staff. As such, the team worked night shifts and around the University’s school schedule to minimize impact.

The new addition to the library is a cast-in-place structure that includes a range of faculty and student collaboration spaces. UCSB’s Special Research Collections contains numerous priceless items including, a Gutenberg Bible and an original casting of President Lincoln’s face. The special collections are housed in a concrete section of the building which has no windows and limited access points. Because of the historic contents, the entire space requires very tight humidity and temperature controls which are regulated by dedicated HVAC units and a large desiccant wheel dehumidifier. A cold room, designed to imitate a walk-in refrigerator, and a vault area were installed for the most sensitive and valuable items.

UCSB’s Davidson Library achieved LEED® Gold certification and joins the approximately 24 LEED®-certified buildings already at UCSB. To achieve this distinction, C.W. Driver incorporated a number of aspects into the project to optimize energy efficiency, improve indoor environmental quality and maximize the use and reuse of sustainable and local resources in order to enhance sustainability of the building.

For example, “chilled beams” were incorporated as a major part of the HVAC system to provide temperature control while reducing energy usage, 55 percent more efficient than standard. Indoor water fixtures (such as waterless urinals and low-flow toilets) use 38 percent less water than standard fixtures, 70 percent of the landscaping is irrigated with recycled water and 88 percent of construction waste was recycled. C.W. Driver implemented an Erosion & Sedimentation Control (ESC) Plan and Whole Building Energy Simulation, meaning the project conformed to the local and more stringent standard codes and offset 15% of the total energy costs through renewable energy generated on the project site.

Other features of the building include a grand glass-walled, three-story paseo consisting of structural steel frame with a combination of architectural concrete, plaster, glass and ornamental metal façade that was built to act as a gateway, connecting all parts of the library to the rest of campus.

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