UC Riverside - Glen Mor II

UC Riverside - Glen Mor II Student Apartments
Riverside, California

A recent housing complex at the University of California, Riverside makes a case for change by challenging the language of conventional university landscape typologies. The twenty-acre, student-housing site occupies a ridge line at the edge of the foothills to the nearby Box Spring Mountains, considered an ecotone zone between coastal sage scrub and chaparral ecologies. The design embraces changing attitudes about sustainability, offers an appropriate response to building in arid climates, and taps into students’ shifting sensitivities and increased climate-awareness by reflecting the local environment throughout the project. Plant material consists of native species informed by a restored arroyo combined with regionally adapted species, and cobblestones and boulders used throughout the site are sourced from a nearby quarry.

The centerpiece of the intervention is the arroyo. Previously a marginalized edge, the 4.6-acre arroyo now takes center stage, becoming a physical and symbolic focal point for the expanding campus and a refuge for students and nature. Punctuated with gabion retaining walls and planted with riparian, drought-tolerant native plants, the channel becomes a seasonal reminder of natural change. Strong contrasts within the landscape—texture, material, color—call attention to place, encouraging students and visitors to pause and take in the environment. The result is a regionally-specific, adaptable landscape capable of responding to changing conditions—a landscape that blurs the boundary between campus and region, connects past and present, and seeks to restore a natural balance to the community. The Glen Mor II project was completed by Principal Meghen Quinn while at Quinn Landscape Architects.

Project Team:  Sasaki Associates, SCB Architects, Saiful Bouquet, BergerABAM, Khalifeh & Associates, OMB Electrical Engineers, Ricca Newmark Design, Aquatic Design Group

Photography: ©Millicent Harvey