The Shanahan Center at Harvey Mudd College is a physical manifestation of STEAM education (integration of Arts and STEM). Programmatically, the building houses 28 classrooms ranging from 12 to 85 seats, a 300-seat lecture hall, a 100-seat recital hall, art gallery, the Department of Mathematics, the President’s office, and the Office of Admission and Financial Aid. Science lectures mingle with writing courses. Physics and music share the same teaching space. All but four of the non-wet-lab instructional spaces have moved into this building and every instructor on campus teaches here. Our design maximizes opportunities for connection and visibility while remaining responsive to the climate of southern California. A large shady porch with wide steps leads to a central courtyard amphitheater that welcomes the campus community. Academic spaces are highly transparent. The auditorium, performance hall, gallery, café and classrooms surround the courtyard at the ground and basement levels, borrowing light and views through extensive glazing. Offices and classrooms on upper floors spiral around the courtyard to enhance community. External circulation activates the building from all sides and large windows broadcast internal activity to the surrounding campus. The ground level is left open to draw passersby into the central courtyard and welcome prospective students to the Office of Admission.
The Shanahan Center borrows spatial typologies and references materials from the original Edward Durrell Stone plan, such as a central courtyard and covered entry porch. Bora led a collaborative programming and visioning process, meeting with faculty, staff, administrators, and students in forty meetings over six weeks. The resulting building form respects the two-story datum along the Great Mall, stepping up to three floors only on the north side. The result is a place that makes teaching and learning visible to the community while fitting the physical and cultural context of the campus.