An Architectural Tale of Two JCs

Oops. “Community Colleges.” Oops. I mean “Colleges.”

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

while back we spent some time looking at the architectural monstrosities being foisted on students and bond underwriters (us) at Fullerton Junior College. We noted the crappy fake historical detailing, the blocky bulk of the overbearing McSpanish dinosaurs, and of course we regretted the intellectual confusion that equates fake old with real old and believes building crappy architecture enhances historical buildings.

Here’s a reminder of what we were talking about.

We were right. They did put a cupola on it.
We were right. They did put a cupola on it.

Ye gods! A series of out-of-scale, fake-arched, hollow-walled, Styrofoam-corniced, bulk-squatting godzillas dumped across the campus.

We also lamented the fact that in lower-middlebrow land nobody seemed capable of conceiving the deployment of inventive and engaging contemporary architecture.

In response to a follow up post this fall, a Friend forwarded images of some recent buildings that have gone up at Santa Monica (Junior) College. We share them below.

Theater Arts Building
Theater Arts Building
The Broad Theater
The Broad Theater
Science Building
Science Building
Science Building
Science Building
Illustration of Student Services Building
Illustration of Student Services Building

Hmm. Food for thought. Okay, the west side of LA, SM, and Culver City are chock-full of talented architects and designers of the SCI-Arc variety, and north Orange County is chock full of…well, let’s let that one go for now.

What’s baffling is that there doesn’t seem to be anybody on the NOCCCD staff or board with a clue. Instead of doing new buildings that actually stimulate aesthetic interest, they prefer to cough up the dreary, banal, and embarrassing visual tripe of McSpanish. And then threy dredge up support for their travesties from equally clueless citizenry.

Time for a change?

15 Replies to “An Architectural Tale of Two JCs”

  1. Fullerton JUNIOR College and the North Orange County Community College District Elected Leaders obviously maintain the Fullerton architectural motto, “It’s good enough.” The town deserves better.

  2. In 50 years one of these schools will have a major push to preserve it’s architectural history from the early 21st century. The other school will be firing up the bulldozer to get rid of it’s styrofoam trash.

  3. Sorry, but that ultra modern look just doesn’t get me excited. Also, I find it distracting when schools or business complexes are a hoj-poj of various architecture.

    If something innovative were to be built at FCC, perhaps the child center/horticulture area off of Berkley would be far enough from the “McSpanish” so as to actually stand out on it’s own merit; not just because it was a huge contrast to the original style used in the 1890’s and still in use today with modern materials.

    Another college with some modern architecture (I don’t care for it, but some of you might) is Santiago Canyon College. Their new buildings are…interesting… I’ll email pictures to Admin for possible posting.

  4. cerritos community college is a good example of the cyclical architectural aesthetic tastes. Built in the early to mid 1960’s, Cerritos bldgs designed in bold, green and blue repeating panels. This particular bldg looked modern until 1980’s 1990’s minimalist, glass boxes architecture. at the end of tthis decade, Cerritos college is looking retro-sixties, seventies cute.

  5. Complexes built in the 50’s and 60’s are, IMO, much easier to mix with the newer non-mcspanish, ultra-progressive, I-don’t-know-what-you-call-it architecture… Rio Hondo College is going through some recent growth and my untrained eyes identify the new buildings to be similar to those at Santa Monica College.

  6. *sigh*
    All those glorious mid century examples off Nutwood to inspire a masterpiece, and what they build is a Triangle Square homage instead.
    *heavy sigh*

  7. It’s funny you bring up SanMoCo. Over the years, I repeatedly tried to bring up Santa Monica with various Fullertonians as an example of a city that has good mix and a good energy level. But there is a certain loathing here of anything west side. Which is really too bad, since that’s where a lot of us go on a regular basis when we want to have fun.

  8. To Anonymous… I think you have misunderstood this thread. In Fullerton we LIKW a good mix, which is why so many find the faux-classical design of the new buildind detestable. Fullertonians are a hearty breed ready to defend the historical aspects of this finr city, but we are progressive enough to embrace modern architecture (as was sampled in the photos of SM College. The authour LIKES those buildings.)
    And as for having to go elswhere to have fun….have you not seen downtown on a weekend? Its a far cry from a ghost town.

    1. Nonya, I forgive your typos, but who on earth are you referring to when you say “we”?

      I really hope there is a “we” but apart from this blog NOBODY is speaking up in Fullerton, and it really is getting hard to avoid the conclusion that Fullertonians are getting exactly what they want!

      But thanks for giving us hope!

  9. My “we” is a hopeful “we,” this is true.
    I do what I can to attend meetings, so do my neighbors and brother. I wish I had more than just a voice to protest the goings in in Fullertons ‘Big City’ plans.

    I LOVE my city.

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