Interior of main building on CCA San Francisco campus.

CCA announces finalists for design of expanded San Francisco campus

Allied Works, Michael Maltzan Architecture, and Studio Gang are selected as finalists to design a new unified institution for CCA.

Selected firm will work with CCA to bring together its two campuses to create a vibrant, unified institution in San Francisco

Nearing the final stage of an international search for an architectural firm, California College of the Arts (CCA) has selected Allied Works, Michael Maltzan Architecture, and Studio Gang as finalists to design a new, ground-breaking art school that will redefine 21st Century arts education. The college’s goal is to unify its two campuses (Oakland and San Francisco) into one vibrant institution in San Francisco.

Collaborating with the firm over the next five years, the college aims to create a campus that will be a model of sustainable construction and practice on its current location at the nexus of the city’s innovation corridor, the new DoReMi (Dogpatch, Potrero Hill, Mission) arts district, and Mission Bay.

The expanded campus will allow CCA to house all its programs in art, crafts, design, architecture, and writing in one location to create new adjacencies and interactions while developing yet-to-be-discovered modes of making. The primary project site is the 2.4-acre lot bordering the college’s existing San Francisco campus buildings.

Strengthening Cultural Ecosystem of SF Bay Area

CCA’s new, reimagined San Francisco campus will strengthen the arts and cultural ecosystem of San Francisco and the Greater Bay Area. It will bring 2,000 students, 600 faculty, 250 staff, and 34 academic programs together to reshape art and design education and practice. This community of artists will enrich and invigorate the region while helping to reclaim San Francisco’s artistic history and contributing to its future.

President Stephen Beal commented, “This is the moment for CCA to elevate and scale our distinctive, learn-though-making educational model by unifying our campuses to improve the student experience. We will develop future creative leaders and reimagine higher education on a campus like no other -- one built with advanced measures of sustainability where every work space, public space, and landscape serves as a living, learning laboratory for collaboration, risk taking, and experimentation. We are looking forward to finding a partner architectural firm that can help us realize this vision.”

Sustainability Objectives

CCA’s existing San Francisco campus performs well; it received a COTE Top Ten Green Building designation in 2001. However, the goal is for the new, reconfigured campus to function at a much higher level -- to serve as a learning center with its performance visible and understandable to the students, faculty, staff, and others who will use it. The college has ambitious sustainability objectives, including strategies for water and energy generation, usage, and conservation; healthy air quality; and environmentally safe artmaking materials and practices.

Student Housing Integral to the Plan

Given the rising cost of living in the Bay Area, providing student housing is integral to the plan. The goal is to have approximately 1,000 beds on or near the San Francisco campus by 2025. CCA’s current student housing facilities are located in Oakland and San Francisco and can accommodate a total of 500 students.

CCA’s Oakland Campus

CCA has occupied the former Treadwell Estate at Broadway and College Avenue in Oakland since 1922. President Beal commented, “The future of our Oakland campus is a top priority. We are in conversations with potential partners to develop a plan that would reflect and amplify CCA's legacy. It may include some sort of housing as well as a mission-aligned use such as a school, gallery space, or affordable housing or studio space, or both, for artists. We anticipate a collaborative process, wherein CCA would have an opportunity to guide, structure, and approve the mission-aligned use.”

Campus Planning Process

In June 2015 the college completed the first phase of work with the firms Gensler and MKThink, which was to produce a strategic framework for planning. The yearlong process included extensive input from faculty, students, staff, alumni, and trustees.

Read the results published in a report titled Framing the Future.

Local firm Jensen Architects was then hired to develop the next phase of the plan, which delineated the requirements for space types outlined in the Gensler report. This work involved more than 300 CCA community members and was completed in summer 2016.

Following the Jensen work, the college formed an architect selection advisory group composed of trustees, faculty, and staff. Led by CCA’s Director of Planning David Meckel, the group reviewed the list of more than 75 firms nominated by the CCA community and narrowed the search to a smaller selection that were invited to submit proposals. Three finalists were chosen from this group. Representatives from the finalist firms will give ninety-minute presentations open to the public in Timken Lecture Hall on the San Francisco campus.

  • October 26 at 12 to 1:30 p.m.: Studio Gang
  • October 28 at 12 to 1:30 p.m.: Allied Works
  • November 1 at 12 to 1:30 p.m.: Michael Maltzan Architecture

Following further research and discussion, the committee will make a recommendation to CCA’s Board of Trustees in November 2016.

Firm Profiles

Allied Works Architecture

Allied Works Architecture is a 40-person practice led by Brad Cloepfil from offices in Portland, Oregon, and New York City. Guided by principles of craft and innovation, Allied Works creates designs that resonate with their specificity of place and purpose. The firm’s practice is grounded in the belief that architecture provides meaningful new insight into its surrounding physical and ideological landscapes. Using a research-based approach, Allied Works distills the elemental principles that drive each of their projects and transforms these into material, shape, and structure -- architectural designs that engage public imagination and amplify a city’s cultural legacy.

Major current cultural projects include Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre in Calgary, Alberta, which was completed in October 2016; and the National Veterans’ Memorial Museum in Columbus, Ohio. Prominent arts and educational projects include the Clyfford Still Museum, Denver; the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis; the Museum of Arts and Design, New York; Seattle Art Museum; the University of Michigan Museum of Art; Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Dallas; and the Schnitzer Center for Art and Design at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, Oregon.

Michael Maltzan Architecture

Michael Maltzan Architecture is an architecture and urban design practice committed to the creation of progressive, transformative experiences that chart new trajectories for architecture, urbanism, and the public realm. Led by Michael Maltzan, the Los Angeles-based practice is dedicated to the design and construction of projects that engage their context and community through a concentrated exploration of movement and perception. The practice’s collaborative studio culture is focused on developing partnerships across disciplines to integrate sustainability and architectural form.

Significant arts and educational projects include Art Center College of Design, Pasadena; Rice University Moody Center for the Arts, Houston; MoMA Queens, New York City; Inner-City Arts,Los Angeles; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Winnipeg Art Gallery Inuit Art Centre; and Regen Projects Hollywood.

Studio Gang

Founded by MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang is an architecture and urbanism practice in Chicago and New York. Gang is recognized internationally for a design process that foregrounds the relationships among individuals, communities, and environments. Drawing insight from ecological systems, her analytical and creative approach has produced some of today’s most compelling design work, including the Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo and Aqua Tower. Studio Gang is a collective of more than 80 architects, designers, and thinkers working together to design and realize innovative projects at multiple scales—architecture, urbanism, interiors, and exhibitions.

Studio Gang has extensive experience designing for arts and educational institutions, including Columbia College Media Production Center, Chicago; Writers Theatre, Glencoe, IL; Rock Valley College Starlight Theater, Rockford, IL; Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, Kalamazoo College; and Campus North Residential Commons, University of Chicago. Earlier this year, the city’s Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure approved Studio Gang’s schematic design for Folsom Bay Tower in San Francisco.

About California College of the Arts

Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts (CCA) educates the creative leaders of tomorrow to make powerful contributions to society. CCA’s distinctive project-based educational model emphasizes interdisciplinary experimentation, risk-taking, and innovation.

CCA offers a rich curriculum of 21 undergraduate and 13 graduate programs in art, design, architecture, and writing taught by a faculty of expert practitioners and attracts promising students from across the United States and from 54 countries around the world. Graduates are highly sought after by companies such as Pixar/Disney, Apple, Intel, Facebook, Gensler, Google, IDEO, Autodesk, Mattel, and Nike, and many have launched their own successful businesses.

Alumni and faculty have received top honors in their fields including Academy Awards, Rhodes Scholarships, Fulbright Scholarships, Emmy Awards, the Ordway Prize, the Rome Prize, the MacArthur Award, AIGA Medals, and the National Medal of Arts.