Landscape Architect & Specifier News

JUN 2015

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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44 Landscape Architect and Specifier News Mesa College is part of the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD), which is now more than a decade into a major capital improvement program for the four-campuses in Southern California. The program, funded by several voter- approved bonds totaling more than $1.5 billion, includes nearly 100 new instructional and career training facilities, student and public safety enhancement projects, parking facilities and campus-wide infrastructure projects. "We have opened a number of extraordinary new buildings with state of the art instructional equipment," said SDCCD Chancellor Constance Carroll. "As a result, our students are extremely well educated and well prepared to either transfer to a four year university or enter the workforce." One of these projects is a bold and innovative design by San Diego-based MLA Design Studio-Landscape Architects and ARCHITECTS hanna gabriel wells (HGW) for a new Student Services Center, which won an 'Orchid Design Award' from the San Diego Architectural Foundation, and an 'Award of Merit' from the American Society of Landscape Architects. In the words of the ASLA jury, the 85,000-square-foot building and site works set on a steep slope at the edge of Mesa College "is elegant and works well with the (surrounding) architecture." The new Student Services Center is also environmentally friendly, achieving LEED Gold certification. Water efficiency was achieved by stormwater collection and use of drought-tolerant plants and low-volume irrigation. Clean power for the project was drawn from the campus photovoltaic system. Grade Changes and Tight Budgets As with all projects, there were challenges. To address a 50-foot grade difference on the narrow site, MLA and HGW used the building's retaining walls and terraces to stabilize the slope and to create a series of spaces for students to gather, including an upper- level cafe and amphitheater, and a lower-level performance area. Quick hand sketches were useful in helping lay out the spaces and site functions, such as the grassy slope, the grand stairway, the positioning of the lighting, the cypress trees leading down the hill and onto the plaza, seating pods, drainage and the stage area. Construction Team Construction Management: Gafcon General Contractor: PCL Construction Landscape Contractor: Palm Engineering Construction Company Project Photographer: Bryan Wayne Vendors and Materials Lighting: Bega Lighting Boulders and Rocks: Southwest Boulder and Stone Concrete Flatwork: TB Penick & Sons Inc. Site Furnishings Ribbon Bike Rack Quick Crete Skate Stoppers

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