Geisel Library under construction in late 1969, when it was called Central Library. The campus landmark opened in 1970.

Celebrating the University’s Built Environment

The UC San Diego campus is a living museum of contemporary public art. The site of original and adventurous architecture, it is a research university splendidly in sync with its natural environment.

As UC San Diego celebrates its 50th Anniversary, the campus is also celebrating and exploring its built environment. UCSD by Design: Art, Architecture, and Urbanism in the Campus Context is a yearlong series of lectures, events, and publications. Its centerpiece is a free five-part public lecture and discussion series.

Hot off the press is the recently published book University of California, San Diego: The Campus Guide (Princeton Architectural Press) by design journalist Dirk Sutro, which is organized into ten map-guided walking tours. The campus guide, which features William Pereira’s iconic Geisel Library on its cover, presents significant architectural works and art across the UC San Diego campus. An exhibit on campus art and architecture in the Arts Library also explores the built environment.

Dean of Arts and Humanities Seth Lerer

Unlike many other prominent regional institutions with reproduced historical architectural styles, UC San Diego reflects in its design the modern and contemporary eras in which it evolved. The university has grown from a compact, rustic campus to the vibrant, urban community of today. The buildings and public spaces—animated in many instances by the site-specific sculptures created for the renowned Stuart Collection—range from cutting-edge examples of modernism and brutalism to, in the new millennium, postmodern structures that embody the latest ideas about sustainability and connecting with community.

The campus has buildings by some of the world’s most celebrated architects, including Charles Gwathmey, Charles Moore, William Pereira, Antoine Predock, Rob Quigley, Michael Rotondi, and Moshe Safdie. The Stuart Collection includes works by John Baldessari, Tim Hawkinson, Robert Irwin, Bruce Nauman, Nam June Paik, Niki de Saint Phalle, and Alexis Smith, among others.

UCSD by Design is a collaborative project of the Division of Arts and Humanities, Campus Architect/Office of Facilities Design and Construction, the Stuart Collection, and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Contributing sponsors include UC San Diego’s Academic Affairs, External and Business Affairs, Resource Management and Planning, Extension, the Jacobs School of Engineering, the Helen Edison Lecture Series, UCSD-TV, Media Services, the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library and its Dialogues in Art & Architecture program, and the UC San Diego 50th Anniversary Executive Committee.

Department of Literature professor Rae Armantrout and Versed (inset), her book that was awarded the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

Literary Prizewinners

UC San Diego poet Rae Armantrout, M.A., won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for poetry for Versed (Wesleyan University Press). The prize recognizes “a distinguished volume of original verse by an American author” and comes with an award of $10,000.

Versed was cited as “a book striking for its wit and linguistic inventiveness, offering poems that are often little thought-bombs detonating in the mind long after the first reading.” Versed also won the 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award and was selected as a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award.

Division of Arts and Humanities dean Seth Lerer, Ph.D., is the recipient of the 2010 Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism for his book Children’s Literature: A Reader’s History from Aesop to Harry Potter. Administered by the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the award includes a $30,000 cash prize.

Tuning Up for the Big 5-0

When the Conrad Prebys Music Center and concert hall debuted on campus in 2009, it marked a new era for the UC San Diego Department of Music and for local chamber music lovers. The 400–seat hall with flawless acoustics draws audiences from the San Diego region and beyond, as well as members of the UC San Diego campus community who attend first-rate concerts in their own backyard.

The Camera Lucida chamber music series, a collaboration of leading music faculty performers and principal players from the San Diego Symphony, welcomes full houses in the new hall—and has become one of San Diego’s most popular classical music events. To commemorate UC San Diego’s 50th Anniversary, the series expanded to seven concerts, beginning in October 2010 with a program of Beethoven, Janáček, and Schubert.

Conrad Prebys Music Center.

On the experimental side, the eleven-concert Wednesdays@7 series features edgy music from faculty performers and composers as well as special guests, continuing the spirit of innovation that has driven the department since its founding in the 1960s.

Several UC San Diego alumni have built successful careers in music. Sonic Diasporas, a 50th Anniversary campus celebration, welcomes back generations of Department of Music composers, performers, com-puter musicians, scholars, and improvisers. They range from composer Mark Applebaum, Ph.D., (professor at Stanford University) to percussionist Aiyun Huang, D.M.A., (head of the percussion program at McGill University in Canada), to Shahrokh Yadegari, Ph.D., a multimedia artist and member of UC San Diego’s Department of Theatre and Dance faculty.

As for emerging talent, the Department of Music will present more than a dozen concerts during the 2010–11 academic year featuring graduate student composers and performers. Many of these individuals already have international reputations.