El Camino College Humanities Building

Torrance, California

New building creates gateway into mid-century modern campus

Developed as part of an extensive upgrade for El Camino Community College, the new Humanities Building is a sustainable response designed to blend in with the school’s mid-century modern aesthetic.
The building’s simple form and sharp lines create a new gateway at the main entrance to campus.

Founded on 80 acres in 1947, El Camino College has endured intact for more than 70 years. The team’s design challenge was to fit the new Humanities Building into the surrounding context while also creating an efficient facility that achieved sustainable goals.

The 83,900-square-foot, three-story structure addressed insufficient teaching space by providing more classrooms as well as a new home for communications, journalism, foreign language and English departments. New classrooms are spacious while retaining a comfortable atmosphere. Natural daylight fills interior spaces and superior acoustics reduce disruptions from outside noise.

On the exterior, the Humanities Building carries forward the three materials prevalent across campus: concrete, brick and cement plaster. Engineers designed a concrete structural system that remains exposed on both the interior and exterior. A brick façade infills that structural frame. Contemporary ribbon windows complete the look, and translucent glass minimizes heat gain and glare. For the punched windows on the west, where sun is controlled by vertical fins, the team designed custom sunscreens in the form of an inverted L-shape. From an energy standpoint, the building performs 23 percent better than California's Title 24 Standards.

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