San Diego’s 204-acre North City in San Marcos marked a major milestone with the completion of its first development, The QUAD, a privately owned, mixed-use student housing structure designed by Safdie Rabines Architects. Located directly across the street from California State University San Marcos Campus (CSUSM), The QUAD establishes a striking visual landmark for the emerging North City, a mixed-use community master plan also designed by Safdie Rabines. The QUAD was completed and occupied to capacity by California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) students in November 2014.
The 5-story, 230,600 square-foot building was designed to achieve LEED Gold certification. It includes 591 dorm rooms housing 889 student beds, 12,000 square feet of academic, student life, and event spaces, and 20,000 square feet of retail/commercial space. The ground floor retail is oriented along North City’s main entrance road and features cafes, restaurants and outdoor dining. A reciprocal parking arrangement allows all parking spaces to be located on the campus, encouraging students to walk or bike across the road to the campus, and freeing up precious area for green space amenities and Low Impact Design/storm water management areas.
The QUAD is comprised of six separate buildings organized around a series of outdoor spaces including a large central courtyard. Exterior bridges and stair towers link the buildings, taking advantage of Southern California’s mild climate and eliminating the need for interior corridors. The sculptural stairways serve clusters of apartments creating natural meeting places for students. The courtyard includes a pool and barbeque area, with student classrooms and lounges along the perimeter activating the central quad.
All public amenities are located on the ground floor to activate the courtyard and encourage social interaction. The dwelling units are designed with central bathroom and kitchen cores, stacking the utilities to maximize efficiency within buildings. The building skin is designed to minimize heat gain, with each elevation responding to the orientation of the building in a unique way. Windows within the alternating angles of the façade are located such that they are shaded by architectural projections above and are screened to minimize solar penetration.