Under one roof - Pomona College | The Plan
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Under one roof - Pomona College


Sixty kilometers east of Los Angeles, in the rural town of Claremont, is a consortium of small prestigious colleges, established almost a century ago to rival Stanford, Harvard, and Yale as a center of academic excellence. Back then, citrus farming brought great prosperity to the region; today Claremont is an oasis of civilization in a wasteland of low-income housing and commerce. Pomona College is the oldest foundation and was recently judged to be America’s best undergraduate school. To enhance the quality of its balanced arts education, it recently commissioned wHY Architecture to bring its diversified art-making activities under one roof, in a place where all of the 1,600 students could be exposed to the creativity of this department.
Kulapat Yantrasast, whose house was featured in The Plan 079, has won acclaim for his art museums, galleries and installations, and the Pomona project challenged his team to re-imagine the traditional art school. Students and teachers asked him to give them spaces that were flexible and interconnected, and to provide shaded outdoor work areas.
The Pomona Studio Art Hall is less a building than a cluster of steel-framed studio blocks grouped around a landscaped courtyard. Pedestrian paths thread through, making it a nexus in the informal network that overlays architect Myron Hunt’s Beaux Arts grid plan. The principal studios are located at opposite corners on each level, with smaller studios, classrooms, galleries and offices in between. But the plan is deliberately discontinuous, and the spaces between become break-out areas for work and social intercourse. A broad free-standing staircase links the two levels, and doubles as bleachers on which to sit and converse. Thus, at every time of day, the complex hums with activity, and expansive glazing puts everything in full public view.
“This is a different kind of building from its neighbors, transparent and porous - a laboratory for...

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