Hameetman Center / 2016
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena
With only 900 undergraduate students, Cal Tech’s populations may be small, but the ideas and work produced there is indeed staggeringly massive in both quantity and effect. In association with the Jet Propulsion Laboratories, Cal Tech has been at the forefront of scientific and technological research and development. Located in Pasadena, California, on a 124 acre campus first planned by Bertram Goodhue in 1917. The Hameetman Center is a new campus hub located on the site of the former Winnett Student Center. It is proposed to replace the Winnett as Caltech’s central community gathering place and is named in honor of Caltech trustee Fred Hameetman (BS ’62) and his wife, Joyce, who provided the initial funding for the building.
Our scheme begins in plan with a triangulated structural grid deployed in and around the existing features of the site such as mature oak trees and major circulation paths. This grid is the defining geometric logic which organizes a large roof/canopy that shades a predominantly glazed building below. The main floor sits 3.5 ft below grade, with a floating mezzanine above. The roof surface is tailored to fit hand in glove sectionally both to the site and the program, which is essentially a pavilion for innovation. Digitally driven maker spaces, seminar rooms, open halls for conversation and exhibition, and a café comprise the 24,000 sf program.