Grimshaw and Little selected to design a new Arts Complex for Santa Monica College in California

Grimshaw and Little have created the winning proposal for the design of a new Arts Complex for Santa Monica College in California. Located along Pico Boulevard, the new complex will create an iconic landmark building that will celebrate and bolster the reputation of Santa Monica College’s Art Department as “one of the best foundational art programs in California”. The new addition will send a welcoming message of inclusivity that will make a positive contribution to the culture of the SMC campus and the broader Santa Monica community.
Since the original SMC Arts Complex first opened in 1950, the program has steadily grown over the years. The current art education programs are at maximum capacity necessitating that the program operate across two separate buildings. The new Arts Complex is an opportunity to consolidate the curriculum and forge together the disparate functions of the two buildings.
Walter Meyer, SMC’s Art Department Chair, says, “We are grateful for this incredible opportunity to create a dynamic art space for our students, the college, and wider community.”
The proposed project of Grimshaw and Little focused on emergent thinking in pedagogy and spaces that can facilitate new modes of learning. Transparency and inclusivity characterize a nexus of campus life, bringing together students, faculty and staff in modern and versatile spaces for conferencing, studying, creating or simply hanging out. Sustainable thinking was a goal for the creators and integrated appropriate understanding of the environmental context and climate of the site to develop specific architectural solutions. Grimshaw aims to provide a space that will draw students to its doors for its fresh response to what it means to be a creative in contemporary society.


Photo by Amy Williams