In the creation of Saxon Suites, 384 beds of 30-year-old undergraduate student housing at the University of California, Los Angeles received a complete renovation. Studio E Architects’ design stripped the existing three-story buildings to the studs and rebuilt them with new finishes, windows, and sun-shading devices, along with mechanical and electrical upgrades. The existing common building was demolished and replaced with a new two-story building that offers essential amenities to students, including gathering spaces, study lounges, and offices. A model of sustainable reuse, Saxon Suites has achieved LEED Platinum certification.
The project's reconfigured site provides a variety of new community spaces—creating opportunities for social gatherings and chance encounters, and promoting a vibrant student culture. Capturing the opportunity created by emergency vehicle access, our redesign of the 2.8-acre site makes a “clearing” with a clearly-articulated esplanade, connecting the Suites to UCLA's larger campus. A new commons straddles this esplanade with gathering spaces. Acknowledging the difficult soil condition, the commons cantilevers more than 30 feet over poor soil, making indoor spaces above and outdoor spaces below.