One of the biggest drawbacks of a school where many freshmen commute is the struggle to socialize. So, when HMC envisaged a new design for Cal Poly Pomona, our team had a key underlying objective: Create intimate environments that keep students on campus and encourage them to feel part of a community.
Cal Poly’s new residential towers and dining commons serve as a highly visible entry point—transforming the campus into a modern-living cosmopolitan populace. The two mid-rise student housing buildings interlace shared social spaces, natural light, and open-air connections throughout the entire eight floors of each structure. Every floor has two 35-student households, providing many places to congregate, socialize, and study. A diversity of connections between indoors and outdoors is a defining feature. Ground-floor amenities are connected to outdoor spaces, promoting socialization and wellness. Balconies on the fifth floor connect students living on upper floors to the outdoors, while living rooms and lounges use full-height glass to queue students into the social activities happening inside. Bedrooms feature abundant natural light while hallways end in views toward the campus and capture amazing views of the San Gabriel Mountains.
Student engagement is driven by diverse social space with shared bathrooms and large communal stairway lounges. Every nook and in-between space is designed for informal inhabitation where students can interact and make life-long connections. Warm materials, residential lighting and large communal tables resonate with the warmth of home for students in the new 650-seat dining commons located at the campus entrance and gateway to the housing community. As part of a broader campus amenity, private eating areas and conference rooms equip the dining hall, and also accommodate late night diners. The collaborative design-build team consisted of HMC (executive architect and housing design architect), EYRC Architects (dining commons architect), and Sundt Construction.