CSU Long Beach Student Union Feasibility Study

Long Beach, California

Detailed engagement process helps develop plan to meet fast-growing campus.

Built in the heart of the campus in 1969, the original University Student Union at California State University, Long Beach served a growing student population by providing a centralized space for student support services, governance and amenities. The CSULB campus expanded to the existing Union in 1997 to provide a total of 166,000 gross square feet of indoor space. However, as the campus continued to grow, space was at a premium.

In 2022, LPA was engaged to provide a vision for an expansion and renovation of the existing facility to create a vibrant, student-focused environment that supports student success and builds upon the campus’ rich architectural history. The result was a four-month student engagement process that included four iterative design charettes with student, staff and faculty leadership. Conceptual programs were developed for renovation of the existing Student Union; consolidation of student leadership and governance spaces; additional food services, including expansion to basic needs services; social and recreational spaces; and administrative space to support student success into a 50,000 gross-square-foot expansion of the facility. In addition to the proposed building improvements, the proposed conceptual design aimed to address accessibility and circulation challenges throughout the site, which straddles a 15-foot grade change from the lower to upper campus. The proposal creates a series of outdoor programmed decks for socializing, dining, and events that connect the existing Union to the proposed expansion, along with an indoor/outdoor “social stair” that connects the campus’ two levels.

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