HGA Architects and Engineers has been awarded the architectural contract for the College of the Desert’s new Palm Springs West Valley Campus, which sets new benchmarks for integrating sustainable design and high-performance building technologies into the academic curriculum. HGA is directing master planning, programming, design and sustainability of the multi-phase campus.
Located at the northwest corner of Indian Canyon Drive and Tramview Road, approximately ½-hour drive from the Palm Desert Campus, the new community college campus will serve as gateway to the City of Palm Springs. The 119-acre campus includes a 59-acre tabular rasa academic campus designed by HGA; and an adjacent 60-acre “GreenPark” solar farm, which the college will lease to Southern California Edison to provide clean energy to Coachella Valley and a revenue source for the campus.
The architecture reflects Palm Springs’ midcentury-modern style while integrating ecological opportunities of the desert landscape through biomimicry, which incorporates sustainable processes from nature into the campus plan and architectural systems. The master plan addresses sun, shade, wind and biomimicry along an Arroyo, or dry riverbed, that winds though campus as the main organizing element. HGA is researching and testing integrated systems to improve building performance, including façades that minimize heat gain, energy-efficient mechanical systems, photovoltaic solar panels, storm-water reservoirs for evaporative cooling, shading and day lighting techniques, wind protection, and desert landscaping with seasonal plantings.
Phase one includes 50,000 square feet of academic space occupying several buildings clustered around a shaded courtyard. The phase one program includes Basic Skills Labs, a possible dental lab in partnership with Loma Linda University, and a Desert Energy Enterprise Center (DEEC) that engages students in the engineering of solar panels and wind turbines.