SDSU Imperial Valley Campus
The campus Master Plan for this complex is centered around two important goals; first, the establishment of a framework plan which will unify old and new structures into a clear hierarchy of buildings and spaces; and second, the identification and the articulation of important campus landmarks which contribute to the greater community/region.
The architectural design of the seven new structures: Administration, Art Gallery, Faculty Offices, Research Institute, Library Expansion, Student Lounge/Bookstore, and Physical Plant takes its inspiration from the existing 1927 Spanish Colonial architecture and the emerging binational/bicultural spirit of NAFTA.
The aesthetics of the new buildings capture the spirit of the existing Spanish-Mission style campus. This can be seen in the entry portico of the Administration Building, in the vault and turrets of the new Library, and in the entry colonnade into the various classrooms, offices, and student services buildings.
As a result of its locale in the desert, this project employed extensive use of daylighting, sun control, natural ventilation and other passive solar energy strategies for architectural energy design solutions.
The “jewels” of the campus are the Neo-Atzlan aesthetic of the Art Gallery, the creation of an “outdoor room” (academic yard) and the regional landmark character of the telecommunications tower.
- Student-centered approach to education
- Essential Learning Programs in concert with a technologically-based curriculum
- Emphasis on school-to-career programs
- Student Success in the 21st century: devlopment of information management, critical thinking skills, problem solving, coping with change, creativity, team work, and civic responsibility
- A stimulating campus environment
- Establishment of joint-use facilities thus promoting public-private partnerships
In collaboration with the School District, Martinez + Cutri directed the community workshops, established the parameters/criteria for the program, budget, and site, in addition to writing the Educational Specifications for this new high school.
The principle planning concepts focused on providing a joint-use (District/City) comprehensive high school where the Multi-Purpose Center, Library, Gymnasium, and athletic field, and the Career-to-Business Center become assets of the community.
The framework plan draws its inspirations from the synthesis of three distinct propositions, namely: 1) the principles inherent to American campus design and town planning; 2) the juxtaposition of Art & Technology with the natural environment; and 3) the experiential qualities of form. Accordingly, each building, in its own right, becomes a landmark, and likewise the Campus plan assumes a dynamic symmetry that is highly functional.
The three-phase expansion of the campus master plan pays homage to early California modernism, and in particular, to the historically significant Vasey Hall, designed by Richard Requa in 1923. The result is an architecture that is complementary to the past while looking to the future, creating a unified vision for the campus. The arrangement of buildings works in concert with the creation of serene landscaped areas and patios in order to promote student life.
The key architectural features of the new building program includes the grand entry portico and its relationship to a series of courtyards, and the expression in tune with the Requa forms of simple arched screen walls, and column supported trellis.
The campus plan draws its inspiration from the American campus planning tradition of carved buildings containing a landscaped yard. Meanwhile, the framework plan distributes all structures around an academic oval with non-classroom buildings lining the perimeter street in order to provide joint-use opportunities.
The architectural theme celebrates individual joint-use buildings engaging passive and active landscape areas. For example, the library's large picture window, framed by a polished tile screen wall, presents a view of a small garden and the academic oval.
The terraced campus plan organizes seven classroom clusters along the site's perimeter. Concurrently, the administration, library, multi-purpose room & green, and the physical education building are aligned on a center-line axis.
The design theme focuses on the relationship between built-form and the natural landscape, providing meaningful plazas, courtyards, and patios in concert with architectural objects. The signature building of the campus is the library with its white latticed reading rotunda.
The framework plan of the campus celebrates three distinct nodes: an “academic hill town” (classroom buildings), a “market square” (multi-purpose building), and the acropolis (administration, ASB, career-to-business, and library). The plan is strengthened by connecting the three nodes with a Scholarly Walk and a Civic Paseo.
The architectural parti creates a community landmark with the library. Concurrently, various programmatic elements have been articulated through massing, materials and color to provide a rich composition. Internally, the campus focus is the multi-purpose center with its colossal columns, grand entry arch, and monumental multi-colored striped metal roof.
The three story urban campus building completes the four-sided Town Square intersection and further strengthens the framework plan of the City Heights Urban Village. The main entry facade consists of a grand portico leading to a two-story atrium that serves as both a circulation system and the “academic yard”.
The corner program at street level – the student-faculty café — is celebrated by the curved recessed terrace. This shape, and the public space created, is reflected across the street at the library, housing, and retail center.
The framework plan for this urban campus organizes four small schools (700 students each) along an east-west student promenade, while the north-south axis accommodates the recreational playfields. The focus of the campus is the “town square,” a quarter-acre plaza defined by the performing arts building, the two-story administration-library building and the sports deck and gymnasium. The signature structure is the administration-library building which celebrates the “act of learning” with a floating roof, private reading areas, and grand vistas for meditation.