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Art and Design Center, California State University, Northridge

Northridge, California

Addition and Renovation

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  • The new Art and Design Center is a village for the arts within the larger urban context of the University Campus that combines the new and the old into a single integrated facility.


  • Much of the studio space used by the California State University Department of Art was lost when the Art Building was destroyed in the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. To replace that space, the University elected to expand the existing Art and Design Center, that was built in the 1970’s to house the sculpture, ceramics, textile, and industrial design.
  • The existing Art and Design Center studios were housed in two concrete block buildings and are placed in a ‘T’ that forms a paved courtyard. The challenge was to design a new 29,000 sf. expansion with a functional environment for the teaching of traditional fine arts and emerging electronic media, to integrate the new facility with the existing.
  • The buildings are wrapped with new program, contained in simple plaster blocks. A series of courtyards is created through the placement of the blocks, with each of the teaching spaces fronting a courtyard. These courtyards form a sequence of outdoor rooms into which the work of the studios extends, and community interactions and events occur.
  • The administration block and the gallery block are located to the south of the complex, creating a portal defining the formal entry into the Art campus.
  • The gallery, exhibition spaces, and electronic media studios are large open lofts with limited and controlled daylight. The gallery is two rooms, one for mounting smaller exhibitions, and a large space with 20’ high clearance. The four walls of both are plain surfaces of drywall and plywood.
  • Glazed doors open from these rooms onto courtyards, shaded by steel canopies. Light from the doors is balanced by light boxes inserted into demising walls between studios, reflecting light into the back corners of the space.
  • This new campus within a campus presents a new face to the university and terminates a major north-south pedestrian axis.

people involved in this project:

Brent T. Miller

AIA, LEED AP
Los Angeles

J. Peter Devereaux

FAIA, LEED AP
Chairman and CEO