Cal Poly Pomona – Student Housing Phase I & Dining Commons

HMC Architects worked with EYRC Architects to complete the Student Housing Phase I and the new Dining Commons for Cal Poly Pomona located in Pomona, California.

The antiquated adage “Heads on beds” no longer applies. Outstanding first year housing is far less about just having a place to sleep and much more about supporting the social and emotional needs of the 18 year-old who has just left home for the first time.

Cal Poly Pomona’s portfolio of first-year housing consists of deteriorating concrete and ubiquitous red-brick buildings from the 1960’s. The social needs of the first-year experience have greatly evolved in the past 60 years. The key to a campus’ success is attraction and student success. Research shows the key component to student success is engagement. Located at the front door to campus with amazing pasture and mountain views, Phase I Housing and Dining is a major attractor for potential students. This project replaces first-year housing, creates a new dining experience, and dramatically improves the student’s social experience by offering flexible and gradually-scaled spaces for study, dining, and passive and active recreation.

The project consists of two, 153,000 SF residential 8-story towers, a 35,000 SF dining commons, and a realigned main arterial into campus. The mid-rise towers are organized into (2) 35-student houses per floor. Each house offers a singles, doubles and triples, supported by a large living room, small lounge, and a 2-person nook. The first floor of each residential tower has community social spaces, group kitchens, laundry rooms, multipurpose and classrooms, a project room, and the residential life offices. The project also includes a 35,000 SF, 680-seat campus-wide dining commons with multiple food offerings arranged in a marchè concept, a late-night restaurant, as well as a retail grab-and-go space. The exterior space includes a large open lawn, sand volleyball court, open seating, and a community garden. The program was designed to provide a variety of social spaces that support a student’s successful residential life and academic experience. Cal Poly Pomona’s goal is to build upon a sense of on-campus community by improving student life through increased student housing, creating an elevated sense of pride and identity, and giving students more places to gather.

This project serves as a highly visible entry point—transforming the campus into a modern-living cosmopolitan populace. The binding concept between the three buildings and site design is to leverage the beautiful setting. The campus’ mature landscape and horse pastures couple with extraordinary mountain views to create a breathtaking setting. The site plan positions buildings and space as a focal point upon arrival to campus, creates a sense of place, and responds to the climate appropriately. A motif based on natural forms weaves throughout the project in ceilings, walls and carpet to connect people to the outdoors. Student engagement is driven by diverse social space with living rooms, shared bathrooms, and 2-story communal stairway lounges. The dining hall drives engagement and identity through diverse seating arrangements defined by colorful and elegant finishes.

Architect: HMC Architects and EYRC Architects
Design Team: James Sink, Kristina Singiser, Jon Orr, Tom Hunter, Veronica Hernandez, Gio Zepeda, Garrett Sanne, Jim Wurst, Konni Doi, Stephen Ehrlich, Whitney Wyatt
Contractor: Sundt Construction
Photography: Lawrence Anderson