Santa Monica College’s Student Services & Administration Building – a stunning, energy-efficient and futuristic structure currently under construction – has won a NEXT LA award from the Los Angeles chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The award, for unbuilt projects, was in the educational category.
The $53.5 million project is designed to consolidate various student services currently scattered throughout the main campus, beautify the Pico Boulevard frontage, and provide an important connection between the Santa Monica community and its college. The project was designed by Steinberg Architects in Los Angeles.
“The project faced two challenges: co-locate more than 30 student services-related departments and administrative offices and create an iconic design that will announce the college to the public,” Steinberg said in its awards entry materials. “Utilizing a bold vernacular reminiscent of modern transportation hubs, the final design creates a place of welcome for new students and symbolizes open access to education.”
In addition to the building, the project – located on the northeast quadrant of the SMC main campus at 1900 Pico Blvd. – includes an entry plaza, a 500-space underground parking garage, landscaping, and a proposed public transit bus pull-out.
Construction on the project began in January 2009 and is scheduled to be completed in February 2014. Funding for the project comes from Measure U, a bond approved by Santa Monica-Malibu voters in 2004.
The building’s design creates a continuous shell structure that integrates photovoltaic solar panels and operable windows and skylights. It is also designed to be energy efficient and easy to maintain and service, with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification for the project.
College officials say the convergence of all major student services into one location will improve the outreach and access of all services available to SMC students while providing an efficiency of common shared spaces.
The architectural award is the latest in a series of awards given to SMC facilities projects. Earlier winners of design and architectural awards have included the Quad, The Broad Stage (at the SMC Performing Arts Center), Humanities & Social Science Building, Theatre Arts Building, Library Expansion and Modernization, and Science Complex.