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UCSD Geisel Library – Main Level Renovation

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  Architectural Light Environmental Graphics

A tasteful, clean and timeless transformation to a local historic icon.

The lighting design for this renovation was tasked to address the outdated space function, traffic flow, wayfinding, entry experience and 1990’s lighting technology maintenance requirements – all while celebrating the iconic 1970 Architecture, in a cost-effective way. 

While the brutalist concrete building boasts a strong, geometrical form- it also adorns curves at its joints, structural buttresses and window frames. Fun Fact: Curved concrete corners are stronger and less prone to stresses and cracks. This symbol of timeless strength was intentionally captured by the lighting design. The custom curved-corner Corridor pendants maintain building ratios, replace countless feet of fluorescent coves, and provide uniform lighting to allow library destinations to pop (without poster signs covering the architecture). The interior lightings subtle nods to the building’s exterior is also reinforced through intentional detailing of the tile, carpet, and even access panels. No detail was spared. Even the conduit paths were coordinated on the newly exposed concrete waffle so they would be less visible.

A neutral palette is maintained throughout, allowing daylight shining through tinted entry doors, and the students themselves, to flood the space with dynamic color. 

9500 Gilman Dr, La Jolla, CA 92093

Project Owner/Developer:

Contact Name/Email:
Randy Leopold (rleopold@ucsd.edu)

Project Architect/Designer:
Architect: Kevin deFreitas / Lighting Designer: Diane Borys (Noctiluca Lighting) / MEP: Syska Hennessey

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  1. Ashley Byrd Hightower

    Much needed renovation! I love the new space, it’s so much brighter and way nicer than before. Love it!

  2. Danielle

    Absolutely stunning! Beautiful work, love the brighter updated space

  3. Jim Levy

    I appreciate the design very much. As an example, the lighting is interesting without being overdone.

  4. Irene Reinecke Lowe

    I was a student at UCSD during the late 1970’s and never liked studying in this library because it gave me bad vibes. I can’t wait to go back for a visit to how I feel now.


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