Transforming the 61-year-old campus into a modern-living cosmopolitan community
July 20, 2020 – To push against its commuter-campus reputation and to promote the school’s focus on student success and community, HMC Architects delivered California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona) two new eight-story residential towers and a dining commons that now serve as an exciting new center for campus community building. First-year students moved in on January 17 and in the two months of occupancy before COVID-19 sent everyone home, students started posting videos of their housing, amazed that this existed at Cal Poly Pomona.
The approximately 340,000 square-foot project offers its first-year student residents smaller communities within larger towers, as well as a variety of communal spaces for different activities.
“One of the biggest drawbacks of a school where many of its freshmen commute is the struggle to socialize, said HMC Managing Principal Kristina Singiser. “So, when HMC envisaged a new design for Cal Poly Pomona, our team had a key underlying objective: Create intimate environments that keep students on campus and encourage them to feel part of a community.”
Located along the entry to campus and adjacent to the historic Stables on Kellogg Hill, the two mid-rise student housing buildings interlace shared social spaces, natural light, and open-air connections throughout the entire eight floors of each structure. Every floor has two 35-student households, providing many places to congregate, socialize, and study. A diversity of connections between indoors and outdoors is a defining feature. Ground-floor amenities are connected to outdoor spaces, promoting socialization and wellness. Balconies on the fifth floor connect students living on upper floors to the outdoors, while living rooms and lounges use full-height glass to queue students into the social activities happening inside. Bedrooms feature abundant natural light while hallways end in views toward the campus and capture amazing views of the San Gabriel Mountains.
Student engagement is driven by diverse social space with living rooms, shared bathrooms, and large communal stairway lounges. Every nook and in-between space are designed for informal inhabitation where students can interact and make life-long connections. Warm materials, residential lighting and large communal tables resonate with the warmth of home for students in the new 650-seat dining commons located at the campus entrance and gateway to the housing community. As part of a broader campus amenity, private eating areas and conference rooms equip the dining hall, and also accommodate late night diners.
The collaborative design-build team consisted of HMC Architects (executive architect and housing design architect), EYRC Architects (dining commons architect), and Sundt Construction.