Cuyamaca Community College, Student Center

El Cajon, California

  • FIRM

    LPA, Inc.


    Grossmont Cuyamaca Community College District

  • AREA

    47,200 sq.ft.





The new 47,200-square-foot Student Center will create a centralized destination on campus for informal student activity. The program spaces include a food court, dining facilities, meeting rooms, a bookstore, health services, a student lounge, and club rooms for student government and student affairs. The sloping building site is situated centrally on campus within an ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY15,000COST PER SQ FT$340.00CITATIONPost-Secondary CitationFEATURED IN2008 Architectural Portfolio forested open space.

The Student Center fronts a student plaza and connects this active outdoor space with the passive setting of the forested building site. Extending the student plaza through the Student Center reinforces an existing site connection between science and nature. Building forms and surfaces reflect spiral and fractal patterns found in both science and nature. Because of the slope of the site, the extended plaza level creates an elevated viewing deck, providing outdoor spaces directly among the treetops. Vertical and horizontal transparent planes allow trees and passing clouds to complete this interior space visually.

In the evening hours, the building becomes a beacon of light at the heart of the campus.

“This center is the heart of campus, and has a sense of entry and engagement to the site. Thoughtful articulation of water and response

to sunlight.”--2008 jury