An industry-academic collaboration | Franklin Antonio Hall

The Jacob School of Engineering’s Franklin Antonio Hall at The University of California San Diego campus, a major engineering facility that was designed with “health and happiness” in mind is an epitome of industry-academic collaboration. It is a physical and intellectual ecosystem that maximizes the circulation of individuals and ideas in order to leverage engineering and computer science for research collaborations, student engagement, and technology acquisition to serve the general public. The approximately 180,000-square-foot building intends to foster cross-disciplinary interactions, which are critical for addressing society’s most severe medical, economic, autonomy, security, connectivity, and materials issues.

The building got its name by UCSD in recognition of Qualcomm co-founder and University of California, San Diego graduate Franklin Antonio, who donated $30 million to the project. The campaign’s goals, in addition to construction, were to improve the student experience, enrich the campus community, and foster research and innovation to transformational technological advancements that can have a substantial impact on the campus and beyond.

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Conceptual rendering_ ©

Considerations for design development

The design for programmatic expansion of the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering campus presented two key challenges. The first was to significantly integrate the new building into the existing cluster of engineering buildings, established mobility networks, connectivity. The second intended to be the site for a landmark project- one that would be ‘modern‘ and ‘enhance the aestheticsbut was near the intersection of Voigt Drive and Engineer Lane, at parking lot P502, which will be permanently closed, resulting in the loss of 355 faculty parking places. Considering the design requirements, the structure is presently ground-breaking in both its architecture and the strategic placement of research teams within it, with 13 collaboratories, research laboratories, bringing together researchers from several departments to address a variety of societal challenges.

The key design principle of the structure that connects groups of researchers and students from many academic areas on campus is the unrestricted movement of people and ideas which is a methodical approach to what the Jacobs School of Engineering accomplishes on a daily basis, according to Albert P. Pisano, dean of the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.

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Structure focusing on glass façade in combination with louvers_©

Space planning strategies

The four-story building, which cost $180 million to design and build, responds to the building’s aim for urban connectedness in a wide range of ways. The building profile consists of segregated spaces with glassy open spaces in order to maximize student and faculty interactions from many disciplines working together, not only theoretically but also experimentally. 

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Enormous atrium illuminating the interior with lighting_©

The building’s atrium level, both in plan and section, tailors itself to each individual’s vision scale, acknowledges them, and provides them with a moment to pause, interact, discuss, and collect. The laboratories are strategically positioned beneath two enormous atriums that will illuminate the interior with lighting. You will be able to see half of the contents of the structure by standing at the bottom and looking up or the top and looking down, according to Pisano. “You’ll be able to stand at the bottom and look up, or stand at the top and look down, and see half of what’s in the building,” Pisano said. Robbins, G. (2022) UCSD Opening Huge Engineering Center aimed at improving ‘health and happiness'(Accessed: February 13, 2023). 

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Isometric view displaying the orientation of the structure_©

Segregated spaces for innovations

A series of specialized ecosystems that are strategically combined, with a focus on the human element of collaboration, show a significant shift in interdisciplinary team discoveries in fields like green technologies, smart cities and transport networks, wearable and artificial intelligence developments, real-time information and decision-making making, digital privacy and security nanotechnology, and medical technology

One can immediately feel connected to the critical mass of research the community assembles upon entering the hall from the classes situated just outside the main entrance where the doors swing open with the architecture of each floor incorporating open floor access and plenty of research need based spaces at the appropriate time.

  • Facilities for executive education, including those designed for online teaching and learning as well as those for the master’s programs in engineering offered for engineers who are currently employed in the technical field. 
  • Flexible conference rooms for partnerships between business and academia to strengthen the future collaborations.
  • Multipurpose rooms for teaching, faculty offices, conference spaces, lounge, and a café.

Specifications for certification | Franklin Antonio Hall

The structure occupies 25% of the 3.2-acre site, and reduces the site’s impervious surfaces from 85% to about 50% of the project site. The proposed plan not only improved the existing site condition by collaborating with staff to construct a site design that integrates an ESHA Buffer expanding from 0 to 25% thus eliminating all vehicular traffic runoff, but also made it easily accessible by lowering the hardscape from 85% to 50% of the space on campus. The 486 Shading Fins on the Building Exterior were designed, assisted with, and built by the team Element, USA, giving it a more dynamic appeal.

Shading Fins on the Building Exterior_©

The use of recycled water, photovoltaics, and a 40% reduction in water consumption, landscaped paths with native, drought-tolerant plants, as well as additional activity and display areas highlighting the research that takes place within the building have further helped the building achieve a LEED Platinum certification.


About Franklin Antonio Hall (no date) About | Franklin Antonio Hall. Available at: (Accessed: February 13, 2023). 

Nomani, S. (2019) Franklin Antonio Hall Construction Set to begin winter 2020, The Triton. The Triton. Available at: (Accessed: February 13, 2023). 

Robbins, G. (2022) UCSD Opening Huge Engineering Center aimed at improving ‘health and happiness’, La Jolla Light. La Jolla Light. Available at: (Accessed: February 13, 2023). 

Franklin Antonio Hall (no date) VWArtclub. Available at: (Accessed: February 13, 2023). 

Davis, A. (2022) Franklin Antonio Hall, Perkins&Will. Available at: (Accessed: February 13, 2023). 

Franklin Antonio Hall Item 20. application no – ppt download (no date) SlidePlayer. Available at: (Accessed: February 13, 2023). 

(no date) Franklin Antonio Hall opens its doors. Available at: (Accessed: February 13, 2023). 

Franklin Antonio Hall – University of California, San Diego (no date) ELEMENT. Available at: (Accessed: February 13, 2023). 


Sonali is an architect by profession and appreciates the process of writing. She is enthralled by both its impact and magnificence and is a dedicated writer who hopes to expand on her professional expertise and apply various viewpoints to each task. She prefers doing research and making an effort to comprehend the literary elements that connect the readers.