Aerial view of the University fo San Diego (UCSD) campus.

UCSD Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood

Reducing the carbon footprint of a university while saving money.

Project Facts

Location San Diego, California
Owner University of California - UC San Diego
Size 1,500,000 SF
Cost $520 million
Status Completed 2023
Capacity 1,200 parking spaces; 2,100 student beds
Certifications Pursuing LEED Silver®


The proposed Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood (TDLLN) is a vibrant mixed-use community on a 10.9-acre site on the University of San Diego’s (UCSD) west campus. Walter P Moore helped develop the design team’s plan, which consisted of redirecting major vehicular traffic for better accessibility as well as using sustainable materials to build new building and parking structures. 

Students walking through the courtyard for the UCSD Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood.

The outer view of two high-rise buildings in the new UCSD Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood.

Twilight view of the UCSD Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood campus.

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About the project

When the University of San Diego started planning for more students, they began developing a project plan that consisted of building five new structures on an existing surface parking lot to house 2,000 future undergraduate students. This meant that a new 1,200 car parking facility had to also be thoughtfully integrated within the build beneath several of the new buildings. 

The exterior edge campus site was ideal for the new parking facility as it helped UCSD reach its goal of a more pedestrian-friendly campus. Additional retail, support services, classrooms, academic spaces, offices, and a conference center were then planned to round out this exciting new area called the Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood (TDLLN).

The university was interested in extending the mobility corridor of the campus to the south via Revelle College Drive. Walter P Moore helped develop an approach that redirected the major vehicular traffic to the TDLLN development toward Scholars Drive and away from the mobility corridor. Reducing vehicular traffic on the mobility corridor promoted usage of the increasing micro-mobility options. 

Drivers are also able to quickly park upon arrival now and explore the mixed-use development. The four-level subterranean structure below six high-rise buildings offers approximately 1,200 spaces for staff, retail, and theater patrons. The structure also includes EV charging stations and bike storage spaces. 

The five new campus buildings utilize concrete shear walls to provide stability during earthquakes and high winds. The floors of these buildings utilize post-tensioned concrete, as this system allows for fewer columns and an economical slab thickness. Reducing the number of columns in the buildings allowed the Walter P Moore team to achieve a highly efficient parking layout below. 

The buildings are also shaped to optimize ocean views and range in height from 8–22 stories. In order to make the most efficient use of the floor space, the Walter P Moore team worked closely with the architect to locate walls between student apartments and around elevators and stairs. The concrete shear walls are optimized to withstand seismic forces at the site while maintaining the budgetary constraints for the project.

Walter P Moore contributed to the projects LEED goals by carefully specifying the ingredients in the concrete. Replacing large amounts of cement with other binding materials helps reduce the carbon footprint of the development and save money overall.

Part of the UCSD campus at twilight.


2021 AIA LA Design Award - Educational