Culver City firm wHY is taking a unique approach to Pomona College’s new Studio Arts Hall. Instead of designing a monolithic, unified structure, they are hoping to create what principal Kulapat Yantrasast called an “art village,” with a cluster of buildings focused around a central open space, covered with an undulating wood and steel truss canopy. The project is set to finish in time for the school year this coming fall. The centralization of activity is designed to encourage interaction and cross-pollination between disciplines, and help the hall become an outdoor center of activity for the campus as a whole. “Students tend to stay in their own studios,” said Yantrasast. “We’ve made it so they have to interact among disciplines.”
Two floors of steel-frame building spaces will contain seven departments, including painting, drawing, digital media, and photography. They will be occupied not just by informal studios but also by un-programmed breakout spaces, perfect for unstructured gatherings. Ground floors will be fronted by large storefront windows, behind which will be active spaces for CNC machines, and wood shops, and so on.
The concrete paved courtyard is a blank canvas for gathering, art display, or even performance. The roof structure above does not just provide shade and enclosure, it echoes both the nearby mountains and the region’s tradition of wood truss structures.
“I believe in craft,” said Yantrasast. “I want this building to have that aspect of craft.”