Revelle Parking Structure: Wolf Architecture

Sullivan, C. C.  “Wolf Architecture: UCSD Revelle parking structure, San Diego.” Architecture 93, no. 7 (July 2004)
AAL Stacks NA1 A326


Standard rectangular plans were studied and found wanting in resolving the form/space relationships
with the existing nearby structures. A circular plan was examined because its nondirectionality
made it a neutral figure relating to all the buildings.
The grove of eucalyptus trees which runs thru the campus as a defining landscape image ends
at the Southwest corner of our site. The idea of introducing a different element here seemed
inappropriate so we have proposed continuity, tightly spaced planting 222 new eucalyptus
trees in a spiral pattern as a simple, economical and powerful gesture, visually extending the
campus grove.

The structure utilizes standard garage column and beam forms and post-tensioned
slabs. After establishing a regular column grid, the plates of each floor ‘slide’ out, conforming
to the curved cross-section, creating the urn shape without increasing cost. In effect the same
floor plate is built, only at a different position for successive floors. “Lemon wedge” like voids
omit unneeded slab and provide dual internal light wells the full 9 floor height of the structure.
To maintain uninterrupted the optimized parking operation, elevator and stair towers are placed
outside the circle, connected by light steel bridges.

The below grade areaway allows natural ventilation; the retaining wall of precast cribbing with
plants provides a vista from below grade of a light filled and flowering perimeter.
Above grade the building is clad with low cost, light weight translucent polycarbonate plastic
panels, tipped to allow natural ventilation. Here the circle proves wise; it contains maximum
area with minimum perimeter, establishing economies for cladding material as it did for retaining
wall. By day the typical garage image of black slots is transformed into a soft, curved object,
seemingly afloat; at every point receding from the viewer. The upward curve is designed to get
smaller at the top so that the building is literally fading away. At night the panels deflect headlight
glare from housing residents and theatre goers, creating a softly glowing beacon entry image.

From Wolf Architects