Tuesday, September 17

Hidden Wonders: The design philosophy behind The Study at Hedrick


Architectural design is all around us. Whether it’s the sweeping acoustics of Royce Hall or the open aesthetic of The Study at Hedrick, each space has been meticulously crafted by architects and designers alike. Daily Bruin Radio’s newest podcast, Hidden Wonders, will examine how buildings and spaces at UCLA were designed. For our first episode, we take a look at the Hedrick Study.

Tate: Welcome to Space Explorer, a new podcast that discovers hidden stories, details and effects in the architecture of our everyday spaces at UCLA. This is your host, Savannah Tate. For our first episode, we will take a look into the newest space on the Hill: Hedrick Study. In its reviews, students have noted its strong wi-fi, natural lighting and aesthetically pleasing design. The space does offer a few features that stand apart from other study spots on – including its wall-to-wall windows and “bubble” room in the center. To learn more about the story behind its design, I spoke with Peter Angelis.

Angelis: I’m Pete Angelis, assistant vice chancellor for Hospitality Services here at UCLA.

Tate: Angelis traces the beginning of The Study to a meeting he had with Residential Life a few years ago. Students were calling for more study space, and Angelis’ department wanted to expand food operations on The Hill. When considering what kind of food to produce, he noted that baked items were the most cost-effective. This led Angelis to the idea of a bakery on the Hill.

Angelis: And then it was a conversation with my daughter who was a college student at the time, and I was asking her about our program up here. And she thought we needed study space but also said the need for coffee and food where you study. So we really didn’t have that. Like a library setup with coffee, caffeine, snacks, something to eat while you study.

Tate: Angelis had also noticed that students study in different ways – alone, in groups, in between Snapchats and Instagram feeds – and he wanted the new space to accommodate these preferences.

Angelis: The idea was, let’s make a study space that connects to a bakery and has caffeine and snacks and all of that. That’s open as late as possible and is potentially 24/7 if needed and do it in different types of study space.

Tate: To design the space, Angelis selected Johnson Favaro, the architect firm behind the West Hollywood and Beverly Hills libraries.

Angelis: They brought a model of how they would approach our Hedrick space, and they were the ones that came up with the concept that the library space should be centered. And they had interviewed many of our students or talked to many of our students on the hill while they were preparing for the interview. And they came up with the notion that the center library area should have enough window around it so that when you’re sitting and studying you could see other students. Because what they were hearing from students was that when they’re studying they like to be in a place where they can see other people. And they can see other people sharing the pain. And then it was this point that I really wanted to make to them was that we also need to have that casual studying where you study at home in a living room. We want a walk-around fireplace with soft seating.

Tate: For the bakery’s design, Angelis drew inspiration from a Michael Mina restaurant in Baltimore.

Angelis: That had white brick, pewter. All the look and feel and textures that you’re seeing in Hedrick Study kind of were evoked from this place that has a bakery, an active kitchen where you can see action, soft seating, fireplace, all of that.

Tate: Angelis explains how the bakery compliments the Study’s overall aesthetic.

Angelis: Baking is … it’s not like the commissary where you have meats, and you got sauces, and it’s a little bit more messy. A bakery is very meditative to watch, it’s very quiet work. And there’s a lot of chemistry that’s going on in the bakery.

Tate: Richard Ruskell, the executive pastry chef for De Neve, Bruin Cafe, and Hedrick Study, discussed what the bakery is like behind the scenes.

Ruskell: My name is Richard Ruskell, and I’m the executive pastry chef.

Tate: Ruskell is no stranger to dining. Before coming to UCLA, he worked at resorts such as The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Arizona, and competed on several Food Network shows. Because hotel restaurants are often cramped and secluded, Ruskell explains that this bakery’s open space and glass window set it apart from others he has worked in.

Ruskell: Kitchens never have windows. What always happens is someone comes in at the beginning of their shift, and somebody always asks, ‘What’s it like outside?’ Because no one knows. It’s so nice to be able to see the real world from where you work, and it’s even nicer to have them see us and what we do.

Tate: Ruskell compared the bakery’s appearance to a lab, which suits the chemistry involved in baking.

Ruskell: For one thing, it’s a sealed environment. And that affects the starter because the more we bake in here and the more the starter releases yeast into the air, the better everything will be. Because the yeast will cling to the walls and the ceiling, and it just kind of promotes this whole living atmosphere. It kind of looks like a lab in a way, the way the lights are. And I think that fits into the educational environment here. It’s like, “Oh, it’s like a bread lab” kind of.

Tate: Another standout design element of the Study lies in its ceiling details. Angelis said that the architects of Johnson Favaro deserve credit for this idea.

Angelis: They recognize the importance of having an interesting ceiling, and where they did a really good job is they realized that the bulk of the time where it’s going to be heaviest used is in the evenings. So how do you make, with lighting and creativity, the space more interesting at night? And I think that’s why the ceilings have been designed like that. They look back to the time of beautiful libraries when they used to have ceiling murals painted and all that. To be inspirational.

Tate: Angelis said the design of Hedrick Study’s logo was also inspired by the old-school days of studying.

Angelis: It’s evoked from an old school typewriter keystroke. And so when you go in you’ll see the old antique typewriters on the stand there. It’s really to think about even though this is unique for modern studying with lots of electrical outlets and built for computer studying and all that, it’s evoking past the old school days of studying. Studying at the end of the day is still studying. You have to do a lot of reading, a lot of writing. And it’s just evoking that the nuts and bolts of a good education is the rigor of a good study.

Tate: Overall, the Study has received positive feedback from students, which has led Angelis to consider creating another study space on the Hill.

Angelis: We have some thoughts that I’m excited to share when we’ve formalized them, but we think that this opportunity is a chance to be replicated but with a different twist and a different spin and still be highly successful.

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