The expansion of the existing Estrella Hall is a new centerpiece and reorients the campus to the future direction of the masterplan. Recognizing the importance that the landscape plays in the definition of Estrella Mountain Community College, the building is designed to reinforce the fabric of the campus by continuing the development of a series of linked garden spaces. Conceived as a pavilion within the landscaped campus core, the building is a backdrop for the garden spaces around it. Due to the footprint of the expanded building a concerted effort was made to promote permeability and visual openness of the ground floor, elevating discrete solid functions to the second level.
Functions such as the computer commons and campus library previously located in the existing building were relocated to the expansion. The new conferencing center with a 4,000 sf meeting space sits aside the expansion, its form in dialogue with the inflected wall of the expansion’s overhanging upper story.
The first floor of the existing Estrella Hall was renovated to expand the Information Technology area, provide new classrooms, and accommodate the primary tutoring functions in the open commons area. The existing sunken floor level was brought up to grade maximizing flexibility. This common open space extends the library and computing commons into the expansion, housing the library and computer commons, lounge and reading spaces.
Above the alternating two story daylit spaces, functional “bridges” follow the pattern of the existing building. This configuration allows daylighting in the core of the building, minimizes the noise and distraction concerns of a single large central space, and provides access between offices and classroom spaces. Faculty offices and support spaces have an internal windowed view to the daylit two-story spaces. New learning studios are organized to promote lingering between classes, with walk up discussion spaces, organized collaboration, study rooms, and faculty offices in close proximity.