Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor
Irvine, Calif.–Austin-based American Campus Communities Inc., one of the larger owners of student housing nationwide, has completed a housing project at the University of California-Irvine. The entire $137 million project features two student residential complexes totaling 1,760 beds and a seven-level parking garage.
The two communities are located on separate sites on UCI’s east campus. One of them, Puerto del Sol, consists of two four-story buildings on the former site of an underutilized parking lot and close to a shopping center. The 562-bed apartments, which are specifically designed for graduate students, are a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom units. The 4,250-square-foot graduate center offers study and meeting rooms, a business center and a multipurpose event room with kitchen. Outdoor amenities include social areas and bike storage.
The other student housing project, Camino del Sol, is an 1,198-bed undergraduate complex. While designed with undergraduates in mind, it also represents the first townhome-style living to campus. Its three-story dwellings have shared kitchen, living and dining on the ground floor with two, three, or four bedrooms upstairs. The community center sports a 10,250-square-foot community building with social lounges, a business center, computer lab, and conference, meeting and study spaces.
Both communities are served by a new, seven-story centralized parking structure with 1,803 parking spaces designed to increase overall land-use efficiency. The structure was designed to accommodate surface parking that was removed by the building of the structure, and it also serves the very popular Anteater Recreation Center.
Camino del Sol is LEED-certified Gold. Among other things, its design optimizes energy and water efficiencies; reduces light pollution, wastewater and construction waste; and utilized regional materials. The project design team, KTGY Group Inc. Architecture and Planning, also used cool roofs and parking with shading to lower heat island effects. The project is part of UCI’s green building education program that includes sustainable curriculum and building tours.
“In addition to its sustainable design and LEED Gold certification, transforming commuters into residents is one of the greenest actions any campus can take,” Daniel McAllister, architect and principal with KTGY, and the lead designer on the project, said in a statement, emphasizing the fact that many more undergraduates will now be able to live on campus. Previously, American Campus Communities worked with KTGY to complete two other housing facilities on the UCI campus totaling 3,326 beds: Vista del Campo, which opened in 2004, and Vista del Campo Norte, which opened in 2006.