In 2025, the 7Cs will welcome a new student center meant to foster connection between students at the different colleges, thanks in part to its collaboration with the Human Centered Design class.
Set to be constructed to the north of the Honnold-Mudd Library, the center aims to help students “gather and connect in a post-pandemic world where engagement, space and communal relationships may be reimagined and redefined,” The Claremont Colleges Services (TCCS) spokesperson Laura Muna-Landa told TSL via email.
To provide input to HMC Architects, the firm selected to design the center, student teams from this semester’s Human Centered Design class at The Hive worked on a design challenge, according to The Hive’s founding director and professor Fred Leichter.
“As a committee member helping to select the design firm for the student center project, I realized that this project would be perfect for our class and that our students would likely offer great insights to the TCCS and design team,” Leichter told TSL via email.
As part of the challenge, each of the eight teams conducted interviews with students and 7C community members which they used to generate ideas to build into prototypes. Later, final presentations brought the ideas to life in an interactive showcase, Leichter said.
Thalia Fourli PO ’24 said her team focused on ways to make cross-college socialization easier by creating a space that could facilitate spontaneous interactions between students.
However, Fourli noted the center is considering moving Student Health Services and the Tranquada Center to the new building, which could create feelings of dissonance in students who access the building for recreational purposes.
“You don’t really want to go to the same place to hang out with your friends as you do to get a physical,” Fourli said. “That seems a little bit unnecessary.”
During classes, architects and students exchanged ideas, Fourli said, adding that architects will solicit feedback on their final presentation.
“Overall, their ideas are very good,” she said. “They’re along the lines of what my team thought about having a third space. Your first space is like your home. Your second space is your work or school. So you need a third space where you can not be in either state. And they’re trying to build that, which is good.”
Leichter said that student input is being taken seriously by the project’s architects.
“Many of the ideas could potentially be implemented even before the new building is built,” Leichter said. “I think that our students very much enjoyed the project and are eager to continue to help with the project.”
Muna-Landa confirmed that the design team will implement class feedback in the new facility.
“Students designed an element of a service that the new facility will offer for a specific type of user,” Muna-Landa said.
A timeline of the Student Center (Courtesy• Laura Muna-Landa)The impetus for the construction came from a TCCS-conducted charrette process, in which students identified relationships between the Claremont Colleges as “need[ing] improvement.”
After TCCS and HMC Architects finalize the design and apply for permits, construction will begin in March 2024 and finish in August 2025, according to Muna-Landa.
Rya Jetha contributed reporting.