UCSD breaks ground on new grand entrance

This rendering — a compilation of source material from UC San Diego, UCSD Stuart Collection, San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, San Diego Association of Governments, Safdie Rabines Architects, Perkins+Wills, HED Architects, LMN Architects and EHDD Architects — shows UCSD’s future ‘grand entrance’ southwest of Warren Field.

UC San Diego broke ground Thursday, Oct. 24 on its $67 million Design & Innovation Building (DIB), the first piece of what the university intends to be its new grand entrance.

The 74,000-square-foot collaborative workspace will provide classrooms, studios and maker-space. It has been purposefully situated next to the future Blue Line Trolley station at Pepper Canyon (southwest of Warren Field) and will include a restaurant and multi-cultural art to attract the public.

The grand entrance will eventually include a large plaza, housing for 1,400 students and a 2,000-seat open-air amphitheater for performing-arts programs that Chancellor Pradeep Khosla said would “hopefully be free” to the surrounding community.

“I cannot tell you how excited I am,” Khosla told an audience of 100 VIPs assembled in 92-degree heat. “This side of campus — which people may not care for — we are transforming completely and making it an integral part of our campus. This ravine — which was basically dirt, trees and shrubs — is going to be transformed into nearly the center of this campus.”

Before grabbing a shovel to move some ceremonial dirt, Khosla said he thought the new grand entrance would help “really open ourselves up to the broader community and not think of ourselves as this little elitist institution on the mesa.” (He clarified: “We are elite, but not elitist.”)

The DIB is expected to open in spring 2021, a few months before the Blue Line.