UC Irvine Middle Earth

Join the Fellowship: Two-tower student housing stands for community

Named after the river in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Middle Earth at the University of California in Irvine is the newest student housing aimed at attracting on-campus living and community engagement. The centrally located facility is a two-tower concrete development with a shared base. Middle Earth adds about 495 beds, a new dining commons, community study spaces on each floor, a fitness center, recreational facilities, and administrative offices.

DCI was the primary structural engineer and developed the project in an 11-week long design-build competition with the general contractor and architect. Project team design collaboration contributed to increased tenant space and interior spaces receiving more natural daylight and ventilation. DCI’s engineering team designed efficient lateral and gravity framing systems, as well as arranged column layouts to maximize ceiling height.

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Irvine, California
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Higher Education, Multi-Family Residential
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Photos by Kevin Scott

Project Highlights

  • The entrance includes an inscription in Elvish: “Speak friend and enter.” The seven-story towers are named after the mythological pasts described in Lord of the Rings: Laurel (the Gold Tree) and Telperion (the Silver Tree).
  • The university is pursuing LEED Platinum certification for the facility.
  • The building surpassed the State of California’s energy code by more than 34%.
  • Includes a solar panel installation on the roof.
  • The design of the project was influenced by the surrounding landscape and local ecology.

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