California State Polytechnic University’s (Cal Poly) Pomona campus recently welcomed a new gateway building that not only consolidates academic services, but also serves as a sustainable campus landmark. Los Angeles-based firm CO Architects designed the 140,000-square-foot building, a two-wing structure topped with an eye-catching aluminum roof that spans two acres. The massive, undulating roof protects against California’s intense sun, while also referencing the campus’s topography, including the foothills and nearby San Gabriel Mountains. 

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a green lawn and sidewalk in front of a landscaped area that sits in front of a massive building with a windowed-facade and undulating aluminum rooftop

Completed in 2018, Cal Poly’s new Student Services Building (SSB) consolidates formerly fractured departments — including enrollment, registration, financial aid, cashiering and prospective student services — into one destination. The 110,000-square-foot, three-story main building houses the service centers on the ground floor, offices for academic, student and administrative affairs on the second level and offices for the university president, provost and university advancement on the top floor. A two-story, 30,000-square-foot wing located across a shaded pedestrian breezeway contains the veteran resources center, orientation, multipurpose rooms, human resources offices and additional service centers. 

people walking through a covered walkway between two buildings with windowed facades

The SSB draws the eye with its wavy standing-seam aluminum roof constructed with perforated metal overhangs that vary from five to 28 feet in depth. Extensive daylight, glare and solar heat-gain analysis modeling informed the roof’s orientation and design. As a result, the optimized roof serves as a primary performance driver for the building; its Energy Use Intensity rating is 31 compared to an average of 65, and it minimizes energy loads for lighting and cooling while improving thermal comfort. The LEED Platinum-certified building enhances its energy efficiency with LEDs installed throughout. Low-E glass strategically installed also provides naturally lit workspaces for the majority of the eight-hour work period. 

Related: Immense drought-tolerant green roof provides valuable teaching tool in thirsty California

a V-shaped building with an overhanging aluminum roof and windowed-facade

Spurlock Landscape Architects led the design of the building’s environmentally responsible landscape plan. This plan features drought-tolerant plantings and an on-site capture system for stormwater and roof runoff, which is used to irrigate the new landscape. 

+ CO Architects

Images by Bill Timmerman