Curved roof tops wHY's Pomona College arts centre

Sculptural roof tops new arts centre designed by wHY for California's Pomona College

LA studio wHY has completed a new home for the art department at Pomona College in Claremont, California, with ample gallery space and studios that offer views of the surrounding landscape (+ slideshow).

Pomona College Art Center by wHY

The 35,000-square-foot (3,250 square metre) Studio Art Hall includes an auditorium, classrooms, multipurpose work areas, a flexible gallery and teaching space, a permanent gallery, and studios. Outdoor terraces can also be used for meetings and classes.

Pomona College Art Center by wHY

The design takes advantage of the region's pleasant year-round climate. Most of the circulation is outdoors, and a central courtyard provides gathering space for chance encounters among students and faculty.

Pomona College Art Center by wHY

The facility comprises four freestanding volumes gathered under the large curving roof. Each volume is clad in a different type of stucco, a common material on the campus.

Pomona College Art Center by wHY

"They are in similar colour but some with very rough aggregates and some with a refined finish," Kulapat Yantrasast, founder of wHY, told Dezeen. "I want the building to be about light, textures and materials."

Pomona College Art Center by wHY

The steel and wood overhead structure unites the building and is visible from within interior rooms through clerestory windows.

Floor-to-ceiling glazing in many of the studios offers views of the nearby San Gabriel Mountains. The area's topography help inspire the building's form.

Pomona College Art Center by wHY

The project is the first purpose-built art facility at Pomona. Located at the centre of campus, the new facility contains a passageway that forms a major circulatory route for the college.

Pomona College Art Center by wHY

"It truly changes people's perception of the art department," Yantrasast said of the new facility. "Art and non-art students alike are using and hacking the building for their own programs. It's so fun to witness."

Pomona College Art Center by wHY

wHY Objects Workshop, the firm's furniture and art division, created a suite of custom stools and drawing benches that the students can use.

Other architects who have designed custom-fittings for arts schools include Crab Studio, who added colourful, irregularly shaped furniture to its architecture faculty building at Bond University in Australia.

Pomona College Art Center by wHY

Pomona College is a top-ranked small liberal arts college and is part of the Claremont Colleges, a consortium of small schools including Pitzer, Claremont McKenna, Scripps, and Harvey Mudd colleges, all of which are in California. The group rivals the so-called "Little Ivies" collection of small liberal arts institutions and the Seven Sisters colleges of the East Coast.

Pomona College Art Center by wHY

Based in LA, wHY has designed a number of art-related projects, including the Grand Rapids Art Museum in Michigan and the David Kordansky Gallery in LA.

Photography is by Iwan Baan.