College of San Mateo College Center

San Mateo, California

A cantilevered building connects a campus

The design for the College of San Mateo’s new College Center was chosen through a design-build competition sponsored by the local district. Sited atop a hill at the center of campus, the building’s skewed orientation sets it apart from the surrounding campus grid and connects views and pathways from the college’s new main entry.

Conceived as a one-stop student facility, the four-story, 140,000-square-foot building houses the new college bookstore, cafeteria and dining room, faculty offices, campus administration, lecture rooms and various other instructional and support spaces. Interior walls are held back from exterior windows to maximize both views and natural light. An open main stairway promotes interaction between students, faculty and staff.

The building’s most notable feature is its bar-shaped penthouse that diagonally bisects the building’s top story and overhangs second-level terraces. Each end of the bar contains a fully-glazed conference room, with the south side aligned on axis toward the new campus entry. Upper floors set back on two sides reduces perceived building mass and creates rooftop plazas for students. As a nod to the existing architecture, designers continued designs used in surrounding buildings.

The project originally targeted LEED Silver, but ultimately earned LEED Gold certification.

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