To accommodate a heightened demand for STEM education space, Santa Monica College is set to build a new 110,0000-sf Math and Science Building. The building is designed to consolidate programs previously scattered throughout the campus and create an interdisciplinary STEM community adjacent to the college’s existing Science Complex.
Set to open in 2021, and funded through a combination of local bonds and state-matching funds, the addition will accommodate the college’s mathematics and science programs. Currently, math and some science programs are dispersed across multiple aged buildings — creating teaching challenges for faculty and hindering the types of cross-departmental collaboration that are so important in STEM education. The new building will solve this challenge by bringing the math department (the largest academic program at Santa Monica College), as well as the earth, life, and astronomy programs together in a new facility linked to the existing science building — creating an enriched STEM community.
Located on the south side of campus and connected to the existing science facility, the building will create a new science quad and serve as an iconic campus gateway — hovering over a pedestrian passage that welcomes students and the public onto campus. At the heart of the passage is an open-air atrium enfolding a historic fig tree and feature stairs leading to the second floor. Directly adjacent to the building stands the iconic art deco clock tower that defines the southwest corner of the campus.
A state-of-the-art planetarium anchors the building, while the remainder of the program is contained in subtly curved rectilinear forms organized into three wings and connected by the sweeping atrium space. Laboratories, lecture halls and classrooms occupy the bulk of the first three floors, and an observatory occupies the rooftop.
Designed by the Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign in collaboration with our higher education practice, the building takes full advantage of the Southern California climate, and is wrapped in a channel glass façade with punctured windows designed to put science and math on display, while welcoming natural light into all learning areas. Generous landscaping and outdoor plazas will surround the building, accommodating outdoor classes, group studying and community events.