The Story of The Club at UC Santa Barbara by Robert Kelley, UCSB Historian (Dec. 1990)
In the early 1960s the dream took hold of transforming UCSB, then a small quiet campus, into a large and distinguished international center of learning, with great libraries and laboratories, honored faculties in wide fields of knowledge and the arts, and a complex, cosmopolitan campus life.
In 1963 Professor Steven Horvath gave UCSB another challenge: to build a Faculty Club which would be appropriate to such a campus, a Club that would provide a center for faculty and community activity and collegiality, and a distinguished venue for greeting and entertaining UCSB's friends, visiting scholars and public figures. It must be too, Horvath insisted, the creation of a world-renowned architect, one who could fashion a setting uplifted by arresting architectural beauty and a strong and dramatic sense of place. And it must be sited by the Campus Lagoon, thus capturing the serene ambience of that calm place of simple, elegant beauty and wide vistas.
With the help of Santa Barbaran William Joyce, the necessary gift funds were raised, and in May, 1967, construction of the Charles Moore Faculty Club at UCSB began. In June, 1968, the soaring structure was completed, marked by the high shed-roofed towers and dramatic use of light and space then emerging as the signatures of Charles Moore, whom an architectural authority writing in Smithsonian describes as the Frank Lloyd Wright of our time.
The Architecture of The Club at UC Santa Barbara by David Gebhard, UCSB Architectural Historian (Dec. 1990)
In 1966 a building committee of The Faculty Club, chaired by Steven M. Horvath, began a search for an appropriate architect to design their new proposed building. The committee's desire was to engage an architect who would provide Santa Barbara and the campus with a building of great distinction - one that had the quality of the Santa Barbara Mission of 1815-20 and of the Santa Barbara County Court House of 1925-29 (the two most sought-out monuments within the community).
Horvath and his committee wished to see realized a building that would successfully play the game of being contemporary, but at the same time would be closely related to California's rich tradition of popular and high art architecture.
A nationwide search for an architect was conducted. From the first, the one figure that seemed most likely to fulfill their desires was the Berkeley architect Charles W. Moore, together with his associate William Turnbull, Jr. A year or so before, Moore and his associates had completed their Condominium 1 at the Sea Ranch in northern California, a building which had brought them instant international fame.
Moore, who at that time was chairman of the Department of Architecture at UC Berkeley, felt as the members of the building committee did, that the new Santa Barbara Faculty Club should be of the same design quality and romantic inventiveness of Bernard Maybeck's noted Men's Faculty Club of 1902 at Berkeley. Another strong argument for engaging Moore to design The Club was this architect's long-time admiration for the Spanish Colonial Revival tradition in California, and especially the Santa Barbara County Courthouse.
The final Moore and Turnbull design gathered together a wide variety of symbolic references, ranging from the Bay Tradition, to Santa Barbara's own version of the Spanish colonial Revival, to references to California's common place roadside architecture, to the image of the freeway, and to an open employment of humor and satire directed at the pompous pretense often encountered within academia.
Though what was finally built in 1967-68 was only the first phase of what was to be a much larger building and complex, the ideals of the committee were fully realized. The dramatic Piranesi-like baronial hall atmosphere of The Club's interior space, its sensitive response to the site, and the way in which it captured the views of the lagoon, distant ocean and islands immediately established this building as a major example of architecture on the national and international scene.