Student Services Welcomes the Community to Campus
San Jose, CA
Evergreen Valley College
Architecture, interior design, and information technology services
Culturally Inspired Design
The building will bring a visual identity to the campus by way of a new entry drive that leads to a student services building that will serve as the primary gateway to campus.
As a gateway building for Evergreen Valley College, the Student Services Complex Building celebrates the intersection of a diverse campus community. The curved and porous form recalls the soft curves and sharp edges of local flora and embraces a large plaza that welcomes everyone from the new entry road and parking being built concurrently. The all-glass façade and large canopy create a highly visible entrance and allows the community to read the multi-lingual message of “Welcome” on the double height ‘Welcome Wall’ just inside. Within the building itself, the program includes elements such as non-gendered restrooms, meditation rooms, and a sensitivity to layering public-to-private program so the experience is both welcoming and inclusive to the diverse population it’s serving.
The Student Services Complex Building brings together, under one roof, the critical services students need from the first day of their academic career, to the day before graduation, and every day in between. The layout incorporates intuitive wayfinding for new students as well as a streamlined process for returning students. Services such as Financial Aid, Admissions and Records, Health & Wellness, along with the Veterans program, are located on Level 1 while services such Counseling and Student Resources are on Level 2. The Complex Building also houses several administrative offices such as the Vice President of Administrative Services, the Vice Presidents of Academic and Student Affairs, and the Office of the President. These functions are in another wing that is accessed from a separate exterior entry or by using the connecting Level 2 bridge with the oculus skylight feature.
Navigating the Space
Intuitive wayfinding is an important driver of design decisions for the Student Services Complex Building. The orientation to the entry road approach and sweeping canopy give a natural sense of hierarchy to the Student Services wing over the Administration wing, allowing students to naturally gravitate to the resources they may be seeking. The Oculus as a feature of the design is an easily referenced moment of arrival onto campus where large events will be held. Within the Student Services building, the lobby is framed by a series of visual ques and resources to help students find their way and feel welcomed to occupy the spaces designed for them. The “Welcome Wall” multi-lingual graphics say “Welcome” and “Hello” in the diverse languages most represented on campus. The Social Stair and varied lounge seating options invite them to sit and stay. For students seeking guidance, the Information Desk is located just inside the doors and is highlighted by a large chandelier. From this desk, the color and large graphics used to distinguish the department entries are easily seen and give options for how the student and staff communicate about where they need to go.