wHY, architects, Pomona College Art Department, architecture, LEED Gold standards, LEED gold design, university design, urban design, Claremont, California architecture,

The new 35,000-square-foot Studio Art Hall will be home to various disciplines of the art-making process and was built to provide a tranquil, collaborative atmosphere to explore new innovative ideas and artistic production. Based on a village model, the college’s new art hall was strategically designed to maximize physical interaction between students, faculty and staff. A central courtyard emits a community-centered atmosphere and encourages a non-hierarchical collaboration between the students and staff.

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The large building’s open layout not only encourages the creative process on the interior, but also aims to bring the  natural surroundings into the design scheme. Large floor-to-ceiling windows in the individual art studios frame the San Gabriel mountains in the distance as well as the beautiful native landscape and historic oak groves found just outside the college. The arching steel and wood roof mimics the adjacent mountain range and “draws parallels to the historic bow-string trussed warehouses, that are home to Los Angeles’ thriving art scene.”

The importance of creating a connection to the building’s surrounding nature was paramount to the creative process, explains wHY’s founding partner and creative director, Kulapat Yantrasast, “Cross-pollination of ideas cannot occur in walled-off art studios. The Studio Art Hall’s concept and design reflects Pomona College’s ethos of nurturing innovation and culturally minded graduates who either stay in the arts or venture into science, humanities or business. This building really could not exist anywhere else.”

The new Studio Art Hall will be inaugurated on 11 October, 2014.

+ wHY

Photos by Jeremy Bittermann