HGHB Architects Designs New MPC Education Center

HGHB Architects recently celebrated the opening of Monterey Peninsula College’s new Education Center. The $7.8 million center, profiled in the Monterey County Herald, is the first of a multi-phase HGHB-designed project located on the CSUMB campus in Marina. It features multiple environmentally friendly elements, and is designed to function primarily with the use of natural light.

HGHB began the project three years ago on a twelve acre site, with little idea about how and when the campus would expand. They settled on a traditional “quad” or courtyard plan as an organizing strategy that would allow the campus to grow in phases, while appearing complete at each phase. The courtyards would also allow hospitable outdoor gathering spaces with the buildings providing a foil for the prevalent northwest winds.

The completed buildings are infused with natural light requiring little to no artificial lighting during the day. “Even on the foggiest of days, natural lighting is perfectly adequate for teaching,” said HGHB architect and principal Ken Scates.

The rooms are naturally cross-ventilated and utilize radiant floor heating to provide occupant comfort with minimal energy consumption. Ceiling fans increase air circulation, as well as return warm air back down to the occupants. All classrooms are smart, with dual projection systems as well as hard-wired and wireless connectivity.

On the exterior, all storm-water runoff from roofs, parking lots and sidewalks is retained and treated on site. “The goal is to slow and naturally clean the runoff before it turns to groundwater,” Scates said.

Rock swales and storm water retention ponds suggest meandering watercourses and are landscaped with native plants to represent riparian corridors. Larger ground areas are treated as native grassland ecosystems.

The roofs over the classroom wings are tilted to the south in anticipation of future photovoltaic panels. Additionally, a vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) exploits the prevalent breezes and symbolizes the District’s commitment to renewable energy.

The next building or buildings will likely be built due east of the existing complex, completing the first quad and initiating the next. Over time, the campus will expand through a series of these quads moving easterly until reaching 4th Avenue at build-out.

HGHB-designed structures are in major cities around the world. Local projects include the Golf Club at Quail Lodge and the Municipal Golf Clubhouse Golf in Pacific Grove amongst others.