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University of California, Merced – The Pavilion

The University of California, Merced's central dining hall, known as The Pavilion, forms a central gathering place in the heart of campus. Designed to create a sense of community, it forms a critical link between student housing and the academic quad, and connects occupants to the surrounding landscape, including adjacent Little Lake. Through its open plan, circulation strategies, and transparent character, the dining hall provides a socially focused culinary environment.

Inspired by the Central Valley’s vernacular agricultural buildings, The Pavilion connects the past with present, utilizing simple, modern materials and expressed structure to create an expansive and engaging indoor-outdoor dining experience. The open, light-filled interiors are designed for the evolving needs of the campus, with flexible seating that transforms over the course of a day—from community dining to lectures, dances, and concerts.

As the centerpiece of UC Merced's 2020 Project, the building leverages the form of simple, durable agricultural sheds found throughout the Central Valley. Its roof collects rainwater, allowing for increased water conservation through stormwater harvesting in response to the region’s hot, arid summers and mild, rainy winters. The high-efficiency, low-waste building is certified LEED Platinum.

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