Students use paint to explore color theory in a First Year Core Studio 2D class.

Focused on the future

Thanks to the creativity and inventive solutions that artists and designers are known for, CCA’s campuses will be unified in San Francisco on schedule in fall 2022.

When CCA students arrive on campus for the start of the fall 2022 semester, it will mark the first time in several decades that they will be united on a single campus—or even in a single city. For years, programs have been split between CCA’s historic Oakland campus and its growing presence in the heart of San Francisco’s Design District, separated by the expanse of San Francisco Bay.

The unification of the college’s academic programs, as well as student housing and dining, exhibition spaces, workshops and studios, and other facilities has long been a goal. Having outgrown the Oakland campus, which is landlocked by its surrounding neighborhood with no opportunity for expansion, the college set its sights on its San Francisco location. A big break came with the acquisition of a 2.4-acre parcel adjacent to the main San Francisco building, and planning began in earnest for a major expansion on the site.

Although the pandemic has delayed construction of Double Ground, a flexible, future-focused group of buildings and outdoor spaces that architect Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang has described as “creatively hackable,” other aspects of CCA’s campus unification have continued apace. In 2018 the apartment-style Blattner Hall student residences opened two blocks from the main campus, followed in 2020 by Founders Hall, where nearly all CCA students live their first and second years right across the street from their classrooms and studios. A new construction timeline for Double Ground will be announced shortly.

View from the street looking toward the corner of a modern-style building with the CCA logo in teal in the window. A row of palm trees lines the sunny street.

A new painting and drawing studio in this Hubbell Street building will provide on-campus work space for students this fall.

In the meantime, with a lot of creativity and inventive problem-solving (specialties of artists and designers!) by campus planners, studio managers, program directors, academic chairs and deans, and many others, CCA will be unified in San Francisco on schedule, even as construction commences on the campus’s final form. Some programs will move directly into their long-term homes, while others relocate to temporary spaces or nearby facilities until Double Ground is built. Each of these moves is designed to prioritize studio and classroom space, with a thoughtful eye toward the way artists, designers, and educators work now—and will work in the years ahead. Here are a few highlights of what fall 2022 will bring as we come together on a single campus.

Three California College of the Arts students wearing black clothes with ombre hair are seen from the back as they walk together down a light-filled hallway.

Students in the hallway of CCA’s First Year Core Studios, which will gain a woodshop, bench room, and 4D computer lab in fall 2022.

First Year Experience

The First Year Core Studio program, which immerses new students in CCA’s unique culture of thinking and making, has been based in San Francisco for several years. This fall, first-year students will find several new facilities added to the mix, including a dedicated woodshop, a bench room, and a 4D computer lab. All First Year program classrooms and studios will be housed at 184 Hooper Street—adjacent to Founders Hall, the first- and second-year student residence.

Animation and Game Arts

New spaces for Animation and the new undergraduate Game Arts program, which launched in 2021, will debut in the fall of 2022, with students benefiting from daily interactions that will become possible with both programs located in the main San Francisco building. The Animation build-out includes a number of computing classrooms designed with animators’ needs in mind, a new sound studio, and several multipurpose spaces for activities such as stop motion, claymation, and AR/VR. Nearby, the Game Arts facilities include classrooms and the program’s popular Game Arts Homeroom, which provides designated space for Game Arts students to work and for all students to play games during open hours.

Close-up of hands forming a lump of white clay on a potter’s wheel in California College of the Arts’ ceramics studio.

Ceramics is among the Fine Arts programs that will relocate from Oakland to San Francisco when CCA unifies its campuses in the fall of 2022.

Fine Arts and Craft Disciplines

CCA was founded more than a century ago in the Arts and Crafts tradition, and the college’s commitment to craft has remained a constant throughout its history. Many of CCA’s craft-based programs such as Ceramics, Jewelry and Metal Arts, and Textiles were based on the Oakland campus in the past. They, along with Sculpture, will now join other Fine Arts programs including Animation, Film, Game Arts, and Painting and Drawing, as well as Architecture, Design, and Humanities and Sciences programs in San Francisco. Multiple programs will have access to a beautiful new painting and drawing studio on Hubbell Street, across the street from the main building. The new Double Ground campus is designed with these programs front and center, with several “maker yards” and flexible studio spaces that will enable students to access equipment and collaborate with ease. During construction, facilities in CCA’s main building and nearby spaces will provide students with access to equipment, maker spaces, and classrooms—all in proximity to the main campus and residence halls.

Thanks to a new partnership with the historic RayKo Photo Center, during construction Photography and Printmedia facilities will include a fully equipped professional darkroom and photo studio, classrooms, and gallery space just two blocks from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Walkable and bikeable from the main campus, this partnership further connects CCA to the city’s art and design community, and establishes a model for ongoing partnerships with organizations and facilities such as Public Glass, the Center for the Book, and others as we build our campus—and beyond.

Exhibition Space

CCA has a robust Events and Exhibitions program, which includes several gallery spaces that feature professional and student work throughout the year. Exhibitions will open in new gallery space on the first floor of Blattner Hall, one of CCA’s two student residences, this fall, with additional exhibition space coming on line in 2023.

“The unification of our campuses has long been a dream for CCA,” says CCA President Stephen Beal. “It’s been central to our long-term strategic plan, and is rooted in our belief that students learn best when they have not only excellent faculty and facilities related to their primary discipline, but are also exposed to ideas, techniques, potential collaborators, and media they may never have considered. Bringing all of CCA’s programs together facilitates these exchanges, and I can’t wait to experience our unified campus with our students this fall.”

Updated April 5, 2022