From Hub to Media Center: A History of Building 434
by Jennifer Kimbell and Danielle Phan


Chances are you’ve passed Building 434 many times in your college career here at UCSB. It’s that brown building on the path between Pardall Tunnel and Davidson Library; the one adjacent to Counseling and Career Services and across from Storke Plaza. Many students casually pass by this historic building without realizing is impact on campus.
This structure is a building of many names: Building 434, the Old Women’s Center, and The Annex, to name a few, which reflects its complex and rich history. The Annex used to be the vibrant hub of UCSB, housing the University Center, the MultiCultural Center, Associated Students, the Women’s Center, and EOP.

Aaron Jones, A.S. Student Government Advisor and an important figure in reclaiming the space, recalls the Annex as “part of a larger vibrancy on campus.” “The Annex represents the last vestiges of the history of student movements and activism on campus,” he said. “It was for student space.”
To visualize what the Annex looked like 20 years ago, imagine a smaller version of the UCen and the Student Resource Building combined. Building 434 was a space that was completely dedicated to student life. Between 1965 and 1969, it was home to the Student Union, to KCSB between 1962 and 1969, to the MultiCultural Center between 1988 and 1995, and to the Women’s Center between 1979 and 2007.
However, when the current UCen was built, the Annex’s role became less defined. After the student groups were moved into the SRB two years ago, there were rumors circulating that the space would be used for something like a faculty lounge area.
The recent history of Building 434 is a convoluted one.
Building 434 was vacated in the fall of 2006 and throughout the rest of the year A.S. drafted a proposal and negotiated with Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas to reclaim the space. During this period, the building was left in shambles.
In the spring of 2007, A.S. was granted one third of the space it had asked for. But after more than a year of fighting for the space, the administration asked A.S. to again vacate the space so that it may function as surge space. Surge refers to the “go-between” space that classes will use when other parts of the campus are undergoing renovations. Now, some of the space in Building 434 is used for this purpose.
According to Elizabeth Robinson, KCSB’s Staff Advisor, the first classes to use the building as surge space will be Art and Art History classes.
The Annex is now in a transitional period, from being neglected to revived to the vibrancy of its past. Building 434 is now becoming a visible structure on campus that houses the KCSB Media Center, the Student Initiative Retention and Recruitment Center (SIRRC), the Committee on Disability Access (CODA), and The Bottom Line newspaper’s headquarters.
Jones hopes to use the space to expand the role of the Media Center as a place where students who may not necessarily be film majors can work on audio and visual media. Still, he said it is tough to say what exactly what could happen. “Part of the long range development plans are that the building not exist,” he said. Jones noted that the economic downturn means there is still a need for surge space, however.
Future plans for the Annex are vague, but Jones believes its preservation is important. “It should be respected and protected as a monument for students,” he said. Robinson hopes for the growth and awareness of the groups that have inhabit the building as well as expansion of the space so that it may again house student groups.