Fueled by discovery. Powered by exploratory learning. STEM education is transforming the typical teacher-centered classroom by encouraging a curriculum focused on interdisciplinary problem solving. At HMC, solving problems is what we do best. So, when tasked to design the new Math and Science Building at Golden West College in Huntington Beach, CA, we set out to create engaging and flexible spaces geared to the latest pedagogical concepts for teaching in the competitive 21st century.

Because the concept of STEM learning is to break down barriers and accommodate the various ways students learn, we created spaces large enough for individual and group study, lectures, seminars and hands-on experimentation. We also gave the new building a much-needed expansion of laboratory, classroom, office and support spaces. The spaces within this STEM-centric environment allow for investigating, exploring, making, and communicating. These activities overlap in ways where the lines between them are not easily identified. Each space in the new building is multi-functional and provides opportunities for social engagement and mentorship. Throughout the facility, spaces along corridors expand and contract to provide spatial variety and play host to small-scale study groups or retreat areas for casual socialization. These attractors, or “sticky spaces,” are provided as amenities to students to keep them on campus and promote relationship building that will help them grow academically and socially. The result is a design that accommodates connectivity and integrates all STEM disciplines cohesively, enabling academic and interdisciplinary innovation.