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The design for the new General Academic and Music Building at Del Mar College is part of a multi-phase development for the general academics and music department. This Phase II building houses both classroom and rehearsal spaces for music as well as general academic classrooms and offices for faculty. The music occupants, will benefit from a creative environment that will encourage collaboration among faculty and students, and general academic will benefit from a highly student active building that creates high exposure and promotes faculty collaboration.

With the building’s central location on campus, there is a strong need for creating accessible, connecting routes to neighboring buildings. On the ground level, the building is divided into multiple, separate forms to allow for student circulation to flow through the building. Also by breaking the building, it avoids existing utility easements. On the ground floor, there is as much open, hardscaped and landscaped space as enclosed space, which allows for student movement and interaction to help create a ”retail” feel.

Above the ground floor, the upper levels overhang and combine the multiple lower forms to create four narrow rectangles running north and south that anchor the four corners of the building. The four rectangles are bridged together with multiple corridors throughout the building. On the upper levels, faculty suites are placed at the ends of the rectangles and classroom spaces occupy the middle portions. The bridging components are not only connecting corridors, but also open student areas.

The inward facing, east and west elevations of the multi-rectangle forms open to a courtyard that is beautifully landscaped and hardscaped. The outer, west elevation looks towards the existing Fine Arts Center and the existing amphitheater. The building takes advantage of the location by creating a grassy knoll in between two of the rectangular forms and directly in front of the existing amphitheater. As the slope of the knoll breaches the top, it turns into concrete steps descending in the opposite direction which faces an impromptu performance area. Along the east elevation, the building overhangs itself creating a loggia that runs along the campus’s open grassy mall. The grassy mall is used by the college as a major circulation path connecting students to the remaining campus.

*architect of record Richter Architects