College of the Canyons - Santa Clarita, CA
Canyon Country Campus New Science and Lecture Building
The New Science and Lecture Building was the key component of the 2012-2017 Facilities Master Plan for College of the Canyons-Canyon Country Campus. This Master Plan sought to provide a framework for the conversion of the initial Interim Campus into a permanent multi-building educational facility. The Master Plan also served as a guide to developing and maintaining the highest-quality physical environment at the Campus in order to reflect and support the College’s extraordinary commitment to creating an exciting and nurturing learning environment.
During the planning process, the architectural team collaborated with COC’s designated “User Group,” which included faculty and staff users, along with COC Facilities and Planning members. Weekly face-to-face meetings and site visits to view similar projects allowed for the free flow of information and input from all team members. As a result of this process, the architectural team and the User Group collaboratively identified the following components of Project One in order to create the learning and teaching environment envisioned in the 2012-2017 Facilities Master Plan:
The Main Plaza: By welcoming and directing new students, faculty and visitors, this primary pedestrian area, the Main Plaza, will anchor the permanent facilities and direct pedestrian circulation to each building. The Main Plaza’s design will also create a visual balance for the site and will provide first-time users with a clear and understandable order of hierarchy among the Campus’ structures.
The Upper Plaza: This plaza will counter-balance the Main Plaza’s energy and activity by offering students, faculty and guests shaded, cool and quiet gathering opportunities under its extensive canopy of evergreen foliage, which will be sheltered from the prevailing winds of the winter months. This green space will connect the outdoor pedestrian context to the surrounding academic structures in a cohesive and functional manner.
The Outdoor Amphitheater: The Canyon Country Campus is committed to providing students and the community with a venue for a variety of outdoor activities, such as the popular Star Party and the Movie Night events in the Carl A. Rasmussen Theater. One of the primary objectives identified during the planning process was to expand on this commitment through the construction of a larger outdoor presentation structure. The proposed Outdoor Amphitheater, designed according to the Master Plan design principles, will address this objective by providing seating for 200+ students and/or spectators. Its placement along the Campus compositional axis will allow the Amphitheater to complete the Main Plaza in shaping the entryway view of the College of the Canyons-Canyon Country Campus.
New Science and Lecture Building: Under the original Master Plan, the Classroom Building was slated to be the first permanent building, with the upslope Science Building to be the third academic building on campus. However, in the time elapsed since the adoption of the Master Plan, this rapidly growing Campus has experienced an unprecedented increase in the demand for science laboratory. To meet this need, the Campus realized it needed to “fast-track” its plans for the construction of the Science Building. The decision was made to “merge” the Science’s laboratory and classroom space functions by building both structures concurrently as Project One. Partially built into grade to accommodate the sloping site, the front-facing, three-story classroom building will provide 35,000 square feet of future lecture space that will be located adjacent to the Main Plaza as well as accessible from the Campus’ upper side. The above-grade, two-story Biology and Chemistry floors will provide 20,000 square feet of much-needed teaching and learning space for the Sciences that will be easily accessible from the Upper Plaza. The stepped design follows the engineered slope to provide on-grade access at each floor, while providing the project’s top floor with a roof terrace. The easily identifiable vertical circulation core overlooks the Main Plaza, directing and orienting students, faculty and visitors, while at the same time providing a natural visual guide to the Campus.
The team’s creative solution to these programming changes not only provided a creative solution to the Campus’ educational needs, but also addressed its financial and architectural priorities: While honoring the original Master Plan, this design will unite and frame the Campus’ entrance, an architectural priority that would not have been met if the original Science Building had been constructed prior to Project One.
The new building will feature energy and water usage displays, a top-story roof terrace that COC and the community will use as a sky observatory. In addition, the Building will feature sustainable elements such as:
• Native and drought-resistant landscape.
• PVC roofing and concrete flooring.
• Water usage reduction with WaterSence-certified fixtures and fixture fittings.
• Maximized interior daylighting with exterior and interior permanent shading devices and high performance glazing.th