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June 1, 2016

Saxon Suites is LEED Certified

Din Blankenship

We are thrilled to share with you that UCLA Saxon Suites has been published on Arch Daily!  Saxon Suites is an innovative model of renovated student housing and student commons space.

We were tasked with completely rebuilding and modernizing six existing buildings and creating a sense of community that was lacking. The existing residential buildings are three story walk ups containing 458 beds in 2-bedroom suite unit types with connecting bridges around courtyard spaces.

After stripping them to their studs, each residential building was provided with new roofing, plumbing, heating, electrical, lighting, sprinkler systems, alarm systems, structural upgrades, interior finishes, windows and exterior finishes.

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The commons building is the new icon of the project with a strong visual presence to the rest of the campus. The building contains gathering spaces, study rooms, a conference room, offices and laundry facilities and hovers in a dramatic cantilever over poor soil from an earlier in-filled canyon that once crossed the site. The ground floor is open with lounge spaces and easy connections to outdoor gathering spaces. Its western side aligns on the plaza at the clearing and includes a projection wall for community movie night. Clad in a weathering steel rainscreen, the building channels all of its storm water to a celebrated retention basin at the building entry.


Saxon Suites is a LEED Platinum project and a model of sustainable reuse of existing buildings. Building envelopes at the renovated buildings were completely updated using rainscreen claddings, high-performance windows, permeable air barrier systems and extensive insulation. Mechanical systems were replaced with high-efficiency radiator units on a shared boiler. Window openings were tuned to their exposure with sunshades placed on vulnerable exposures. The new commons utilizes similar envelope measures and includes a very high efficiency heating and cooling system. The undersides of both levels are clad in reclaimed douglas fir planks sourced from demolished buildings.


The design team for Saxon Suites included Spurlock Landscape Architects (formerly Spurlock Poirier Landscape Architecture), KPFF Structural and Civil Engineers, Michael Wall Electrical Engineers, Stantec for mechanical and plumbing engineering, Gaia for LEED certification, RJA for code and fire and life safety and Newsom Design for environmental graphics. The General Contractor was Icon West.