Cañada College Celebrates Opening of Science and Technology Building

State-of-the-art building puts science and learning on display as a campus-wide destination.

HGA and McCarthy Building Companies team members gather for the grand opening.

Cañada College of San Mateo County Community College District in Redwood City, California, celebrated the opening of its new Science and Technology Building in August 2019, marking a campus benchmark to support career-focused training in the high-tech science and technology professions.

Completed ahead of schedule by HGA and McCarthy Building Companies, the 50,000 square-foot, three-story Science and Technology Building houses the Computer Science, Radiologic Technology, Biology, Anatomy, Physiology, Earth Science, and Astronomy departments with flexible, state-of-the-art classrooms, labs, faculty offices, indoor/outdoor learning commons, and an outdoor landscaped plaza.

“The new building provides flexible teaching spaces and conveys a modern image of high-tech education,” said Kaveh Amirdelfan, AIA, LEED AP, Vice President and Principal with HGA. “The design promotes the building as a teaching tool and the campus as a living laboratory.”

A Good Neighbor

Located at the north end of campus adjacent to exsiting science buildings, the new building reinforces a science quad anchored by a landscaped plaza.

Architecturally, the Science and Technology building responds to the campus context with light-colored precast concrete panels that visually complement the white-painted cast concrete walls of the neighboring structures. Several biophilic design strategies connect the building to nature, including a rooftop trellis with an olive-branch pattern that provides dappled sunlight while recalling the campus olive trees and Cañada College logo.

Active Learning Environments

Inside, the building’s modular massing separates the laboratories and lecture rooms into separate blocks, bisected by a main circulation pass-through. Single-loaded corridors provide accessible open study spaces with a variety of seating and gathering arrangements. A raised plaza at the ground floor and rooftop terrace create opportunities for outdoor classrooms and impromptu interactions between faculty and students.

Standardized lab modules and flexible classrooms can be reconfigured to support multiple learning models and functions—including lecture, group work, and active learning environments.

Finally, the building reaches out to the entire campus community through glazed walls in the study areas, extensive windows at the laboratories, public circulation paths through the building, outdoor plazas, and rooftop terrace.

Sustainable Outcomes

The Science and Technology Building is targeting LEED Gold certification and Net Zero Energy, providing a campus model for sustainable construction with optimized energy performance 40 percent below industry standards and proposed rooftop Photovoltaic (PV) panels.

“The sustainable design will reduce the college’s operational costs and provide a healthier environment overall,” said Kevin Day, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Design Principal at HGA. “The building is an integral part of science education on campus and will help students succeed in the 21st century workforce.”