The Academic Master Facilities Plan for the Art Center College of Design begins with the question: What does a great art and design college of the early 21st century need to be? For 80 years, the College has excelled in providing its students with the deep knowledge and hands-on experience to master a single area of specialization in the fine and applied arts. As constant innovators within the disciplines encompassed by its academic program, as well as in the evolution of the pedagogical approaches taken to prepare its students, Art Center challenged MMA to reinvent the physical environment of its campus, creating opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaboration and learning, enabling technologically sophisticated craft-making, and encouraging an appreciation for sustainable design practices.

The scope of the Master Facilities Plan includes all existing academic buildings on both Art Center campuses, as well as contemplating new facilities to be constructed within a 15-year planning horizon. A key component of the Plan is the replanning and upgrading of the historic Ellwood Building, a modernist masterpiece at the heart of the Hillside campus. Significant improvements will be made, including the stiffening of building structure to reduce unwanted vibration, replacement of HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems, and the retrofitting of the exterior skin to increase thermal and UV performance. MMA has undertaking an initial planning exercise that proposes several approaches to the reorganizing of building program within the iconic structure. Each offers a reconceptualization of the nature and arrangement of the building’s existing program, illustrating the possibilities and the power of the physical learning environment to support and enable the pedagogic goals of a reinvented Art Center.

LOCATION / Pasadena, California
TYPE / Academic Facilities Master Plan & Historic Building Renovation
SIZE / 350,000 sf
STATUS / In Design
ROLE / Design Architect & Architect of Record