Our designers find potential in the unlikeliest of places. What once was a dark, dull and uninspired science-building basement on the campus of El Camino College in Torrance, CA is now buzzing with algorithms, hypotheses, laws and theories as a new 21st century Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Center. The transformation was part of the college’s goal to enhance student success and provide intimate areas for focused learning. The renovation included a total transformation of the under-utilized interior and exterior spaces to create a tutoring center that supports the college and surrounding school district.

Integrating four subjects into one cohesive environment, the new STEM Center supports one-on-one and small group tutoring, as well as academic enrichment programs. Custom collaboration tables and group study furniture enable students to break into teams for shared concept discussions, while moveable white boards are easily accessible for hands-on teachable moments. We introduced multipurpose rooms to support lecture-style teaching as a whole. These can also be divided into three spaces for smaller class sizes or individual subjects. Natural wood plank partitions provide privacy for smaller group study rooms, while natural light and translucent visibility shines from the outside in. We duplicated the same wood plank trellis at the exterior patio where vines and bamboo create an intimate and cognitive outdoor learning environment. Frosted windows, glass walls, natural wood tones and an open waffle slab ceiling with layered soffits gives the electrifying new interior an unforgettable quantum leap forward.