A heirarchy of buildings, a multiplicity of scale

The 1963 Long Range Development Plan envisioned an outer ring of fifteen to twenty colleges and ten professional schools roughly encircling a core of joint facilities, including the academic and the science centers. The Plan outlined “a hierarchy of building types":

The colleges would be informal and on the scale of the individual while the academic core would reflect the "dignity and cermony of University life" through more formal architecture and a grander scale. 

University of California, Santa Cruz: construction view of McHenry Library, March 1965

Construction view of McHenry Library, March 1965

Architectual flexibility: a plan for diversity

The Plan also advocated a flexibility that found its way into some of the earliest central structures: the handsome East Field House, Central Services, the two “Redwood” buildings (the Whole Earth restaurant and the bookstore), the Cowell Student Health Center, and the Performing Arts complex. For both colleges and core, the Plan argued that reinforced concrete to provide "overall unity."

The architectural flexibility allowed the architects to draw on a range of national and regional styles of modernism. Early buildings included such features as vertical columns parallel to the redwood trees, and metal roofs, preferably of copper. The versatility could extend to function as well as architecture: witness the use of the Field House in its first two years as a multi-purpose structure.

Construction, both visible and hidden

During the first decade, building proceeded at breakneck pace, including the construction, sometimes visible, sometimes hidden, of roads and paths, and of electrical, gas, water, and sewage lines.