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UC San Diego Athena Parking Garage

La Jolla, CA

Developed via a design-build process with McCarthy Building Companies and IPD as Architect of Record, this 1270-stall parking structure serves the needs of patients, visitors, and staff at the UC San Diego Medical Campus. Conscious that many users of the garage will be arriving and leaving under highly stressful circumstances, Studio E Architects sought means and methods to make the parking experience as intuitive and pleasant as possible. Furthermore, we sought a scheme that offered a low-maintenance, cost-effective, and highly functional building that recognized the long-term challenges faced by the University.
The three teams who competed for the project were faced with the additional request to accommodate two 1.2 million-gallon thermal energy storage tanks somewhere on site. Our winning scheme split the garage open— creating a large palm-filled “canyon” that allowed the tanks to be nested within the heart of the garage. Perforated metal fins sheath portions of the exterior, creating a variegated veil to block direct views of parked cars. Pedestrian circulation—including walks, stairs, and glazed elevators—was drawn to the edges, bringing life and human activity to the facades.


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