Diablo Valley College Campus Commons

Pleasant Hill, CA

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Expanding the Student Experience with Open Space + Enclosure

Finding inspiration in the flexibility of traditional plazas and town squares, CMG has designed the Campus Commons as an expansive, canvas for school life, contrasted by moments of intricacy placed between circulation paths and adjacent to new Student Services Center buildings by Steinberg Architects. Integral to Diablo Valley College’s campus rejuvenation, Campus Commons offers a flexible plaza for student active recreation that anchors new retail, culinary arts, a cafeteria, restaurants, and student services. Programming anchoring the commons includes a dining terrace, stage and shade pavilion, and lawn “beach,” which accommodate large student events while providing contemplative spaces for small study groups and individuals. A generous stair ramp negotiates campus’ dynamic hilly terrain, and interior views outward across it create a visual connection to the ecological trail that leads deep into campus.

Materiality of the landscape and architecture amplify the campus’ existing texture, including roughhewn wood site furniture, brick façades and stone paving. Sustainable landscape features include stormwater infiltration gardens, native tree plantings and water efficient native landscaping, permeable paving design, and large, heritage tree preservation. The new building was designed to LEED Gold standards. Image Credit: Tim Griffith

Image Credit: Tim Griffith

This new core open space is flexible – accommodating many size functions from small group study sessions to school graduation ceremonies. At a college where most students commute, this new “campus heart” focuses on student life and makes the student body visible to itself.