The vision for the new environmental sciences facility was to capture and integrate the spectacular views and rich natural resources of the California Pacific Coast with college academics and special events at Skyline College. Located on the very western edge of the campus, the facility is placed strategically to allow students and the public an uncompromising view of the coast and a unique opportunity to provide indoor and outdoor learning spaces at the confluence of several native species of plants and animals as well as a Bay Area trail system.
Among the challenges in placing a facility at this location was the lack of an apparent site, the impact of the built environment on the natural resources and the ability to connect the facility to the rest of the campus. The solution suggests a low, fan shaped building form which nestles into the hillside and maximizes the view. The “ring road” around the campus is diverted into the parking area, a strong pedestrian plaza is developed to provide safety and a focused, landscaped flanked connection points patrons back to the center of the college.
The building is home of environmental studies at the college and, as such, offers flexible lecture and dry laboratory spaces with a gallery and exterior deck for direct access to collaborative and outdoor areas.