Search

Early Education Center, Santa Ana College

Santa Ana, California

New Child Development Center and Adult Instruction Facility

Info

"This project is an oasis that enables students freedom and choice in a bright, warm environment. A safe and secure environment for children"

American School & University 2012 Jury
  • "This allows us to continue to educate and nurture our parents while they attend school, work and/or seek gainful employment as well as consolidate the location of our Human Development program, an instructional program that prepares our students for careers working with children." - Erlinda Martinez, President, Santa Ana College


  • The image of the new facility is inspired by mid-century ‘Eichler’ homes: modernist courtyard houses designed by leading ‘Case Study’ Architects.
  • A bridge between the institutional heart of the campus and the residential neighborhoods to the south and east, the facility was conceived of as a walled garden containing clustered, domestic scaled buildings containing preschool classrooms and supporting facilities.
  • The scale and character are domestic in nature and responsive to the neighborhood context but appropriately ‘modern’ in their campus setting.
  • An extension to the academic program of the college, the center features eight children’s classrooms, lecture rooms and opportunities for on-site observation.
  • The domestically scaled buildings enhance the child-oriented environment and provide a welcoming, nurturing and secure environment.
  • Each classroom opens onto its own semiprivate patio and the grounds are subdivided into a series of smaller age appropriate play spaces, each with toy and equipment storage.
  • Located on the second floor are faculty offices and a resource rooms for students and faculty. Two lecture rooms, with a folding wall in between, provide a multi-purpose teaching space which also provides an occasional venue for parent meetings.
  • Deep overhangs and porches provide additional outdoor program space providing welcome shade on sunny days and shelter from the rain during the winter months.
  • The academic program is housed in lecture rooms and offices on the second floor of a centrally located administration building that overlooks the gardens.
  • From this location, an elevated walkway above the play yards provides a central observation point to watch children at play.
  • There is a central garden, dominated by a gently mounded lawn and the series of perimeter courts and playgrounds which service each nursery and age group. The result is a seamless but varied array of indoor and outdoor spaces potent for childhood adventures.
  • A dry streambed running the length of the play yards is a shared feature for exploration and play.

people involved in this project:

Brent T. Miller

AIA, LEED AP
Los Angeles

John R. Dale

FAIA, LEED AP
Pre K-12 + Community Education Design Studio