Studio Art Hall – Pomona College
|Cross-pollination of ideas cannot occur in walled-off art studios. The Studio Art Hall’s concept and design reflects Pomona College’s ethos of nurturing innovation and culturally-minded graduates who either stay in the arts or venture into science, technology or business.”|
|/Kulapat Yantrasat – wHY Founder|
By Kirsten Kiser
Located at the heart of the Claremont campus the village-like nature of the Studio Art Hall building mixes and exposes different disciplines during the art-making process; creating a cool, transparent and collaborative atmosphere to explore new ideas, materials, and media.
From the project’s conception, programming sessions with the Art Program faculty and students uncovered a desire for mixing and exposure among the different disciplines during the art-making process.
To address this, wHY created semi-public collaborative ‘Grey Spaces’ for exploring and exchanging ideas in a more informal way, and gave them just as much importance as formal studio spaces.
By arranging major program elements around a central courtyard, part of a prominent diagonal path through campus, the new building encourages collaboration among art majors as well as non-art majors and the general public. The individual studio spaces are stacked with strategic areas of transparency creating visual connections across open spaces.
Covering and bringing it all together is an arching steel and wood roof that echoes the rise and fall of the nearby mountain range, and draws parallels to the historic bow-string trussed warehouses that now house art galleries and studios throughout Los Angeles. Every studio space not only has views of the lush, natural surroundings of the arroyo but also the capacity to expand the working environment into the open air or natural surroundings.
With Southern California’s extreme sensitivity to water and power resources the project is geared toward a high level of sustainability. Natural ventilation in every space combined with deep overhangs enables year-round use of shaded cool breezes. Extensive use of perimeter clearstory glazing throughout the facility and strategic placement of program elements enables the building to nearly eliminate the need for artificial lighting outside of evening hours. Concrete walls keep interior spaces cool during the day and radiate to warm the interior at night. Stormwater detention basins for water collection are implemented in the design without sacrificing studio spaces.