Pomona College Studio Art Hall
Claremont, CA, USA
Thornton Tomasetti (Structural) Stantec (MEP) Magnusson Klemencic Associates (Civil) EPT Design (Landscape) Veneklasen Associates (• Acoustical) George Sexton Associates (Lighting) Roofing Waterproofing & Forensics Inc.(RWFI) (Waterproofing) Lerch Bates (Vertical Transportation) Assa Abloy Muscat, Shari (Door Hardware) AON Fire Protection Engineering (Code Consultant) Hamilton Construction (Contractor)
To address Pomona College's needs, wHY created semi-public collaborative ‘Grey Spaces’ for exploring and exchanging ideas in a more informal way, and gave them just as much importance as formal studio spaces. By arranging major program elements around a central courtyard that is itself part of a prominent diagonal path through campus, the new building encourages collaboration among art majors as well as non-art majors and the general public that the college’s desires. Throughout the building, the individual studio spaces are stacked with strategic areas of transparency to the whole. Visual connections are established across open spaces in the building open artistic dialogue. Covering and bringing it all together, is an arching steel and wood roof that echoes the rise and fall of the nearby mountain range and draws parallels to the historic bow-string trussed warehouses that now house art galleries and studios throughout Los Angeles. Every studio space not only has views of the lush, natural surroundings of the arroyo but also the capacity to expand the working environment into the open air or natural surroundings.
The new Studio Art Hall at Pomona College brings together under one roof art making, art appreciation, and art interaction. It synergizes many important faces of the school’s esteemed identity as a leading liberal arts college. At the heart of the school’s mission is a drive to create a balanced, well-rounded education for its graduates. An exposure to the studio arts is critical within this objective. Whether a student continues an education in the fine arts or is off to a future in another field entirely, part of the project’s objective is to create a physical environment where an appreciation for the creative art process can be nurtured and explored. Recognizing that artists have historically been catalysts for urban and cultural development, the wHY IDEAs Workshop reimagined the program and site in support of making art the public center of the campus. The village-like open, porous nature of the new building improves on the existing masterplan, forging new connections within the site’s key position at an intersection of daily campus life and other campus arts buildings. This green, cool, transparent, and collaborative atmosphere serves as a nexus for cross-pollination of ideas from the entire campus. From the project’s conception, programming sessions with the Art Program faculty and students uncovered a desire for mixing and exposure amongst different disciplines during the art-making process. As formative minds explore new ideas, materials, and media, collisions between different thoughts and influences are to be encouraged.
Pomona’s campus lacks contemporary architecture. Responding to this unique context and the desires of the Art Department, wHY’s design amplifies the long-standing campus pedestrian route and creates a cool, green and transparent space for the arts. With Southern California’s extreme sensitivity to water and power resources, Pomona College’s forward thinking toward environmental stewardship, combined with wHY’s technical expertise and experience, has created a project geared toward a high level of sustainability. Natural ventilation in every space combined with deep overhangs enables year-round use of shaded cool breezes. Extensive use of perimeter clearstory glazing throughout the facility and strategic placement of program elements enables the building to nearly eliminate the need for artificial lighting outside of evening hours. Concrete walls keep interior spaces cool during the day and radiate to warm the interior at night. Stormwater detention basins for water collection are implemented in the design without sacrificing studio spaces. The design outcome includes: LEED Gold, extensive daylighting, wide roof overhangs to shade building from summer sun, natural ventilation for most spaces year-round, photovoltaic power, light pavement and roofing color to reduce heat island effect, recycled materials (steel, high fly ash concrete, metal stud, acoustic panels, exterior aluminum panels, dens glass exterior sheeting, etc.), FSC certified wood, and high efficiency mechanical equipment. To maximize efficiency, the site, building and interior design integrate sustainable components for uninterrupted art making. It is a green, cool and transparent atmosphere for the arts and the cross-pollination of ideas at Pomona College.