University Court, Davis

An apartment complex with modernized common areas.

The University Court apartment complex occupies two 1960s-era institutional buildings within walking distance to the UC Davis campus, and contained large common areas including swimming pools, lobbies and a fitness center. Western Contract was approached to update and lend continuity to these community spaces to try and attract new tenants.

To create flow between the outdoors and the interior, the project team chose brushed aluminum-and-glass doors with sidelights to improve sight lines and push natural light into dark interior areas. Plain concrete masonry or panel-clad walls were replaced by furred-out gypsum board, which softened these surfaces and gave them a pleasing texture.

To give the lobby and breezeways an upscale feel, high-traffic porcelain tile replaced aggregate flooring, while carpet tiles laid in coordinating patterns provided a dynamic backdrop for new furnishings. The redesigned mezzanine level is reached by a spiral staircase and features bar height tables and chairs to allow comfortable viewing of activities below.

The project team designed these spaces to impart a sense of arrival upon a visitor and to give the aging interiors some “creating space”. It would be hard to argue with the results.