UC Davis Hosts Rare Design-Build Competition

DAVIS, Calif. — The University of California, Davis is at the heart of innovation, as they are hosting what is believed to be the first design-build competition for an art museum in the U.S.

To honor the legacy of artists Wayne Thiebaud and Robert Arneson, who came to teach at UC Davis in the 1960s, the university is building the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, in which faculty will teach both art and architecture. The museum is named after Jan Shrem, proprietor of Close Pegase winery in California’s Napa Valley, and his wife, arts patron Maria Manetti Shrem. In 2011, they contributed $10 million towards building a museum that would be a new teaching source for the area. The estimated cost of the museum is around $30 million, according to the university.

The university may have started a new trend in this niche area of construction by announcing in late November that instead of just hiring a design-build team, they were going to give three teams, four months to create a design and prepare a bid for the museum. The method of delivery has created a competition for designers and contractors to produce the best possible project to the university.

Design-build refers to the process in which architects, engineers and builders combine their talents to work on a single contract for new construction. According to the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA), the use of design-build has “greatly accelerated” in the U.S. over the past 15 years. By developing a project under a single contract, it helps save money and time by encouraging collaboration and teamwork between designers and builders. Plus, the DBIA says a combined team is more likely to incorporate BIM and LEED certification goals.

The applicant teams were chosen based on criteria that included art-exhibition experience, design ability, familiarity with UC Davis and an understanding of the art world and academic community. Plus, the university chose them in hopes of advancing the standard of sustainability in art museums, making the school an expert in this arena. The three teams that the school selected and believe represent the best — or most innovative — talent in the industry include:

• Contractor: Kitchell; design architect: WORKac; executive architect: Westlake Reed Leskosky
• Contractor: Oliver and Company; design architect: Henning Larsen Architects; executive architect: Gould Evans
• Contractor: Whiting-Turner; design architect: SO – IL; executive architect: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

The winner of the competition will be announced in a public presentation in late March or early April. The museum will be built on a 1.6-acre site and is slated for completion in 2016, serving as the anchor of a planned arts district for the university. It will also house the school’s fine arts collection, which includes more than 4,000 works of art — several of which were created by former art department faculty.