University of California, Riverside Plant Research 1

Riverside, California
State-of-the-Art Plant Research Facility

The University of California, Riverside (UCR), is a campus deeply and historically linked with the agricultural and natural sciences, since 1907 when the Citrus Experiment Station of the University of California was founded in the city of Riverside. This heritage is academically and physically represented in the University with a district of greenhouses on the main campus, just blocks from the central University mall. These greenhouses, built in the 1960s, create a unique plant research campus district.

This state-of-the-art plant research facility continues this campus tradition with a new greenhouse and research building sited in the existing greenhouse district. The design is driven by the planning and organizational module of the greenhouses. Inspired by the pragmatism of the historical greenhouses, the module organizes the façade, the planning, and the landscape.

Located at a significant crossroads on the campus, the facility represents the importance of plant research to the culture and character of UCR by placing a utilitarian research facility in a visible and approachable location. The result is a design that puts science on display—placing the glass greenhouses above a concrete base so that students, faculty, and researchers can see and experience the research happening on campus.

The project speaks to UCR’s tradition of citrus research, the campus's modernist architectural context, and the climate specific use of concrete as a thermal mass.
Innovative Planning and Modularity

Through planning and design studies, the design-build team was able to propose a new planning concept that increased the research space of the greenhouses by more than 15%.

Iterative design models exploring planning and design concepts
A governing module drove the greenhouse planning and articulation of the building, creating a cascade of roofs above a serrated concrete wall, bringing together structure, façade, and function, while defining a prototype for future greenhouses on the UCR campus.



This entry space is recessed into the base but lit from above to create a dynamic link between the solid concrete base and the glass and metal greenhouses.
Perkins&Will and DPR were able to leverage design-build to include greenhouse design experts and a greenhouse manufacturer and installer to develop a design and planning strategy informed by design, performance, and value.
The design extends a major campus pedestrian path through the site to a nature arroyo and trailhead.

Project Team

Eric Aukee
Andrew Clinch
Yan Krymsky