I recently visited the University of California Irvine campus in preparation for a new building we are collaborating on with Jeffrey Berkus Architects. Unfamiliar with the campus, I did some research prior to my visit and learned that William Pereira was the campus planner and visionary. The campus began as a “singular Brutalist Vision”, relying heavily on shaped concrete to free the buildings from common post+beam construction. The style, popular from 1950 – 1970, was typically massive and fortress-like, intending to communicate a sense of strength and moral seriousness.
The campus has evolved over the years, creating interesting juxtapositions of the original and new architecture and abrupt transitions to “nature”. The 80s and 90s brought contributions from architects like James Stirling (the Ayala Science Library), Arthur Erickson (McGaugh Hall), and the Carrier-Johnson Architects (Natural Sciences Building II). My exploration of the campus was an interesting lesson in how the changing aesthetic and values of an era are reflected in the physical infrastructure of a place.
Click here for more information on William Pereira and photos of his iconic work.