In northern San Diego County, ocean breezes work their way up through the valley to Palomar College in San Marcos, California. It's setting offers panoramic views to the coastal mountain range, ample sunshine for natural daylighting opportunities and moderate weather conditions. The Multi-Disciplinary (MD) building is situated next to two major pedestrian crossroads, the 110,000-square-foot MD Building is at the epicenter of campus activity. Previously, the site contained three long, single-story buildings from the 1970s that were not feasible for retrofit to current standards. The existing buildings were demolished, and their concrete slabs and foundations were repurposed as fill for a new, $35 million structure that consolidates a range of educational departments.

Classrooms, laboratories, a lecture auditorium, faculty offices, multiple study areas and support spaces fill the three-story facility, and a central interior courtyard opens the MD building to the environment.

Designers lined the building perimeter with classroom spaces in a single-loaded corridor, and created visual and physical connections to nature. Bound by windows on two sides, state-of-the-art audiovisual technology and strong accent wall colors help instructors keep students' focus at the front of the class. To prevent glare, windows are equipped with high-performance, low-E glass, and each classroom is outfitted with operable interior shades.

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Project Details

  • Completed in 2011
  • San Marcos, CA
  • LEED Gold design

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