Abandoned university site in the redwoods gets a new lease on life as an immersive learning center and corporate retreat.
1440 Multiversity was founded by former Silicon Valley executive Scott Kriens and his wife Joanie with a mission to help people foster stronger connections and evolve in relationship, spirit, and wellness.
The Kriens engaged architect Jerry Yates and South Bay Construction (SBC) to develop the learning center, which is located on 75 acres nestled among the Santa Cruz Mountains in Scotts Valley, California. Rather than undertake new construction, the Kriens opted to renovate an abandoned college campus surrounded by towering redwoods—the former Bethany University.
The original structures featured a range of disparate architectural styles. Yates and the SBC team were tasked with bringing two thirds of the existing buildings up to a design standard that would be compatible with the newer buildings to be added – resulting in a cohesive look. Due to the age of the campus and uneven terrain, the infrastructure also required updating to support the regular use of the learni
Seeking to incorporate a design philosophy that resonated with the California locale, Yates went with a modified American Craftsman style inspired by the work of 20th century architects Greene and Greene, who artfully married the Arts & Craft aesthetic with Japanese design. Yates was looking for railings for the residence hall balconies that would complement the site’s Craftsman aesthetic. The railings also needed to be durable, weather-resistant and unobtrusive while requiring minimal maintenance.
The project’s interior designer had installed stainless steel CableRail infill from Feeney in one of the interior dorms. Yates liked the clean, streamlined look and how it worked seamlessly with the building’s architectural style. When Yates learned that Feeney also offered powder-coated aluminum railings, he knew he had found the right solution. For the residence hall balconies, he ultimately chose to pair CableRail with Feeney’s DesignRail aluminum railing system. Ipe top rails were added to harmonize with the surrounding redwoods and mirror the site’s organic look and feel. The railings provide a clean-lined appearance and offer maximum visibility while eliminating the need for refinishing or repainting.
Says Yates, “The Feeney railings were not only a durable and low maintenance solution, but they really accentuate the architecture and preserve the stunning views, which is especially important with this type of project,” says Yates. “The Feeney team was very easy to work with and the entire process went very smoothly, which we appreciated.”