The University of California, Santa Cruz’s Digital Arts/New Media program encourages students and faculty to explore rapidly expanding opportunities of digital artistic expression. The new Digital Arts Research Center, with its modularity, simplicity and flexibility, allows for simple modification in response to this evolving program. Located at the heart of the Arts complex, the project creates a new center for collaboration within and among all art disciplines.
The research center connects the arts and theatre complexes with the music center. Sited amid a grove of live oaks between uphill redwoods and downhill grasslands, the research center takes full advantage of its natural surroundings. A bridge from the arts and theater areas connects with an existing path through the oaks to a dramatic third-floor overlook. With views of the Pacific Ocean, this spacious outdoor overlook was designed as a central gathering space for all departments within the arts.
The mass of the building is a reflection of the varied activities contained within. A new Media Lab, at the heart of the new building, is a flexible double-height volume housing installations and performances, available for use by all departments. On the third level, sloped roofs accommodate large north-facing windows at a large drawing studio for students and five smaller painting studios for faculty. A gallery space on the third floor serves as a beacon to the larger campus via back projection on a retractable screen.