The twin sister buildings, Maya and Olmeca Residence Halls at San Diego State University, are two of many legacy ‘red-brick’ 3-story buildings that were built throughout the CSU system. HED’s design team was challenged to restore and refresh the student spaces while maintaining much of the fundamental architecture, emphasizing the unique original features of the building.
Creating openness and flow through the buildings with lots of collaborative areas designed for studying, playing, eating, and hanging out became the main goal of the project.
HED led the full interior renovation of both buildings, including the design of the student common areas, lounges, dorms, and restrooms. Working through the challenges with the original structural components and how integral they became to the open floor plan, helped the design in showcasing the distinctive and native architectural elements. Olmeca Hall, adjacent to the Maya Residence Hall, serves as the main entry to both, and the layouts of the Maya common areas were reconfigured to connect the students more with the extensive outdoor gathering spaces, swimming pools, and grilling areas. Indoor collaborative spaces were filled with strategic amenities to build community among the students, such as a full-size kitchen and eating area, gaming, study room, and built-in reading niches. These amenities are centrally clustered at each floor level creating social gravity and a sense of belonging.