For the Kravis Center, Rafael Viñoly Architects designed a complex for Claremont McKenna College that creates a prominent western gateway and expands the campus mall along its main axis. This Gold LEED-certified facility houses much needed classrooms, space for five of the college’s research institutes, as well as offices for faculty, admissions, and financial aid.
The site was formerly occupied by facilities that the college was outgrowing, and decided to demolish. By leaving the resulting space open and building farther to the west, Rafael Viñoly Architects revealed exposures to the formerly obscured Roberts North and South halls that now face each other across the expanded campus quad.
The new building includes a series of four terraced floors that step back from the mall as the building rises. This design not only limits the building mass to a scale appropriate to the low-rise character of the campus and adjacent community, but also augments interior spaces with exterior terraces that can be used for classes or informal meetings. Classrooms on the ground floor, and department and institute spaces on the upper floors, extend the program distribution of the Roberts North and South halls, which connect to the new building on the first and second levels. The exterior second-floor terraces overlap slightly with the Roberts halls, unifying circulation throughout the three buildings and defining a U-shape that encloses a square courtyard at the western end of the campus mall. Throughout the complex, exterior stairways maximize circulation options by connecting the terraces to the ground level and, below, to recessed courtyards.
Excavation created more usable space than the college had originally anticipated. A parking garage with sixty spaces occupies the basement of the Kravis Center, and classrooms and financial aid offices are located underneath the campus mall. These areas look out on the landscaped courtyards shared with the lower-level classrooms in the Roberts halls, allowing natural light into the underground spaces.