Art Center Dialing Down in Pasadena

West
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
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Art Center's Downtown Campus, located inside a former wind tunnel

Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design has always been ambitious about building. But after some pushback, it’s toning things down. Most architecture buffs know about the school’s iconic black steel hillside campus designed by Craig Ellwood, and its equally ambitious downtown campus designed by Daly Genik, located inside a former Douglas Aircraft wind tunnel.

But after its last director, Richard Koshalek, got pushed out largely for his super ambitious $150 million expansion plan, including a $45 million Frank Gehry-designed research center (many thought the school was putting more emphasis on facilities than teaching and students), the school’s new expansion plans, confirmed this week, involve renovations and smaller expansions, not big gestures, reports the Pasadena Star News.

The college is negotiating to buy a U.S. Post Office-owned building on a 2.4-acre lot at 870 S. Raymond Ave, right next to its downtown campus, and plans to use it as a base for fabrication and design. The plan also includes the expansion of the Ellwood Building, whose winner should be announced in the next couple of months.

The overall expansion will cost a much more palatable $45 million, for which the school is now raising funds. And the school has no intention of moving into the city-owned Glenarm Power Plant, on which it holds a 10-year option.

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