When visiting a college campus for the first time, prospective students know within 13 seconds if the college is a match for them. California State Polytechnic (Cal Poly) University–Pomona is acutely in tune with its prospective students and incoming freshmen, which is why they’re building new, modern-living student housing at the doorstep of their 61-year-old campus and transforming Cal Poly Pomona into a cosmopolitan community.

Cal Poly Pomona challenged us to design new student housing that accommodates nearly 1,000 freshmen students, fosters social connectivity and bonding, feels like home for their student residents and ultimately supports their academic success. The collaborative design-build team consisting of HMC, Sundt Construction, and Ehrlich Architects, created a mid-rise design that interlaces shared social spaces, natural light, and open air connections throughout the entire eight floors of each of the two new student housing buildings. From the outside, large glass windows queue students in to the social activities happening inside. Each floor has two 35-student households, which promote social engagement with living rooms, shared bathrooms that support gender equality, and large communal stairway lounges. Bedrooms feature abundant natural light while hallways end in views toward the campus and local mountains. Shared social spaces create an intimate environment where students can interact and make life-long connections. Students will enjoy meals in a 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 will equip the dining hall, and also accommodate late night diners. The project is slated for completion in the fall of 2019. We’ll be tracking its progress, so check back to see it unfold.