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Woodbury University School of Architecture
Burbank, CA


Mark Rios
Frank Clementi
Bob Hale
Jennifer Charles
Naseema Asif
Chris Adamick
Garth Ramsey
Chiaki Kanda


This two-story building completes the architecture department at Woodbury University. It houses architectural studios, critique spaces, support spaces, and a double-height multi-purpose room with the flexibility to accommodate both small presentations and large gatherings that spill out into the adjacent courtyard. As the most visible building on the campus’s perimeter, it mediates Woodbury’s public and private faces. The south façade is a gesture to passing motorists: a curving masonry wall that changes material, color, and depth over its height, creating a subtly shaded pattern.

Because this is an architecture school, we made the space didactic, exposing all of the electrical and structural systems that typically get hidden behind finishes. You can actually
watch the building breathe: the mechanical systems are a flexible sock that inflates when full of air, and deflates when it’s not pumping. Gypsum sheetrock lines interior walls, providing spaces for students to pin up their work. But the drywall stops short of the ceiling, exposing the structural concrete masonry unit walls on the building’s inside. Where possible, we specified sustainable materials like recycled glass ceramic tile, pressed paper and resin countertops and backsplashes, and recycled cotton acoustical insulation.

We had to move some olive trees to build the new studio, so we memorialized them with an olive and olive leaf pattern on the multipurpose room’s oversized windows. The pattern casts shadows similar to the shadows the olive trees would have cast.