Estrella Mountain Community College: Ocotillo Hall
Fronting the current SouthWest Skill Center at Estrella Mountain Community College is Ocotillo Hall, a new 33,500 sf. One story building which contains 22 new prototype classrooms, and offices for 20 faculty members.
The project set out to offer a premiere active learning environment on a progressive campus in one of the U.S.’s fastest growing cities. Additionally, the project team and educational community sensed an opportunity to explore the evolving nature of learning. The leadership at this school recognized the power an institution has in leveraging physical space, whether it is formal or informal, to promote engagement and advance teaching and learning. Ultimately, the educators committed to a design that would support the evolution of the student experience. College students have very different ideas about how and where learning takes place. As a result, traditional classrooms designed specifically for knowledge delivery no longer work. Recognizing this, the community college and their design partners committed to meet the changing needs and expectations of faculty and students through the design of creative and dynamic learning spaces.
The Learning Studios address these changing needs by supporting expectations of students and faculty who sought flexibility. Core elements internally show adaptable and fully technologically integrated teaching and learning spaces. Socialization is encouraged through small gathering spaces both in and outside of the building. The project was conceived as organic learning spaces where students explore a variety of academic disciplines shaped by an architecture that transforms lives every day. This commitment is shared programmatically with a faculty initiative to nurture teaching and learning.