Coastal Biology, U.C. Santa Cruz

The Aquarium of the Pacific Expansion houses an immersive theater experience and changing exhibit galleries within its new biomorphic structure.



The new Coastal Biology building at U.C. Santa Cruz is situated on a windswept bluff along the Pacific Ocean, near the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. It supports research and teaching on coastal conservation, ecology, habitat restoration, climate change impacts, and policy. The design details are inspired by its educational focus and coastal site location.

Designed by San Francisco architecture firm EHDD, the two-story building includes labs, offices, meeting spaces, and a 125-seat seminar room that opens up to a courtyard. The project also included a number of major infrastructure upgrades, including a new entrance, relocation of the entrance road, paths for walking and biking, overlooks with interpretive panels, improvements to underground utilities, and a small public access parking lot. It was awarded LEED Gold certification just six months after opening its doors for use.


Coastal Biology building

Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Client: University of California at Santa Cruz
Architectural Firm: EHDD
Year Built: 2018
Size: 40,000 sq. ft.
Awards: LEED Gold Certified
My role: Interior architecture


"The architecture includes a lot of neat details. The natural light inside is beautiful, and there are special touches that make it feel like it was designed for us as field biologists and people who love nature."

-Ingrid Parker, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology professor & Department chair