UCSC was authorized in 1957, and its site chosen in 1961. Cowell college, the first of the 10 that comprise the university was dedicated in 1966. The campus was, in part, modeled after Oxford and Cambridge in that the school was divided up into residential campuses, each with an architecture of its own and an academic specialty.
The campus is on the site of the old Cowell ranch, and many of the old buildings have been preserved. Preservation has been one of the design fundamentals over the course of the building of the university (which continues today).
The campus was laid out by Thomas Church who, with the assistance of Ansel Adams among many others, insisted that the buildings be placed and built in the least intrusive manner so as to allow the redwoods and the magnificent views to be the primary landscape elements.
The colleges and other buildings are tucked into the folds of the land, on the edges of the forest and the result is spectacular. Six other colleges were built over the years, each with a distinctive architecture and focus.
Colleges 8 and 9 are under construction at this time and will be the last colleges to be built for some time. The tradition of melding with the land continues, and they will rapidly become just another part of one of the world’s great campuses.
by Gary Starkweather
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