Art breaks the rules” is an idea Pomona College’s art faculty hoped its new building would convey, recalls department chair Michael O’Malley. In that spirit, Studio Art Hall—completed by wHY in late 2014—departs strikingly from the Spanish Mission architecture around it. Unlike the stuccoed, terracotta-roof-tiled buildings with which architect Myron Hunt shaped this Claremont, California, campus in the early 20th century, the new facility is sculpturally exuberant. Its long, extroverted front stair draws you in under a broad, gestural roof that hovers over a cluster of indoor and outdoor art and gathering spaces.
Rising to that undulant canopy, the 35,000-square-foot structure stands along the fringes of an academic quad, replacing a parking lot. It’s a maverick building that might appear foreign within this traditional setting, except that it engages the context in other ways—with a roofline echoing the San Gabriel Mountains behind, and with a semi-open, pavilion-like form that extends a cross-campus route up its front steps and inside. “There was a strong desire—a vision from both the college president and art faculty,” says Kulapat Yantrasast, wHY’s founding partner and creative director, “for a place not just for art students, but welcoming for everyone.”
Read the full feature in Architectural Record.