CSU San Bernardino College of Education

San Bernardino, California

Campus center features demonstration desert garden to reflect natural habitat

The new College of Education (COE) is a 140,000-square-foot, three-story structure that consolidates lecture halls, classrooms, graduate research laboratories, faculty offices and administrative support spaces. Located just off the Camphor Walk—a main pedestrian path through campus—this state-of-the-art facility energizes the university and provides a new home for its future educators.

The CSUSB campus is located at the base of the San Bernardino Mountains where the edge of campus erodes into the high desert terrain of Southern California. The design for the COE project takes a sustainable approach and carves out five acres for a “demonstration desert garden.” Xeriscaping methods reflecting the natural habitat, including succulents and other native plants, reduce irrigation needs by 80 percent. In the long term, wells from the adjacent San Andreas fault line will ultimately provide all irrigation water.

The new COE building is designed to blend with the modern aesthetic prevalent in the university’s other campus buildings, including clean detailing and refined window designs. At the north elevation, three glass stair towers serve as expressive elements that stand out as “lanterns” against the solid building mass. Concrete-panel facades protect from solar heat gain and require no maintenance in the harsh desert environment. A white-colored membrane roof reduces heat island effect and features a large photovoltaic array.

A glazed, three-story entry lobby fronts the Camphor Walk. Branded as “The Scholastic Gallery,” this grand space welcomes visitors with a 30-foot tall, glass-panel billboard that displays the COE’s mission statement, philosophy and programs. A large-format projection system cycles images on the billboard, creating a new experience each time students pass through the lobby.

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