CGU plans for new School of Arts and Humanities facility

Open grassy area with a lamp on the right side
CGU Alumnus Patrick F. Cadigan’s $42 million commitment will fund a new building for the School of Arts and Humanities. (Crystal Widado • The Student Life)

In Feb. 2022, Claremont Graduate University (CGU) announced that it had received its largest philanthropic donation, a $42 million commitment from alumnus Patrick F. Cadigan CGU ’80. The donation will fund a new permanent home for the School of Arts and Humanities at CGU.

TSL has been unable to obtain information regarding the progress of the building since the donation was announced, and CGU said they would not provide details on the status of the project until after Oct. 11. Construction has not yet started, but the Cadigan building is scheduled for a tentative opening in fall of 2024 according to the Claremont Courier.

Josh Goode, a faculty member in the School of Arts and Humanities and a member of the planning committee for the Cadigan project, told TSL that the building will be constructed by the firm Whiting-Turner, which was also behind the Google Bay View building in Mountain View, California.

The new building will sit north of the Drucker Institute on North Dartmouth Avenue and Drucker Street in a currently vacant two-acre lot. This space was used for graduate student housing until 2008, when CGU demolished the apartment buildings upon completion of Claremont Collegiate Apartments.

Eric Thomas, a cultural studies doctorate student at CGU, shared his hopes for the new building to address the varied needs of the community.

I hope the planning for the new Arts and Humanities building takes into account the needs of graduate scholars, including accessibility, a commitment to preserving the trees and natural environment [and] covered parking,” Thomas said. “I also envision a space that is futuristic and capable of meeting the diverse needs of arts and humanities scholarship and research.”

Despite the relatively positive expectations for the new Cadigan building, Goode expressed apprehension over the outcome of the design and construction process.

“Is it going to turn out as great as we hope it’s going to turn out? Is it going to fulfill the promises that we want it to?” Goode said. “There’s such hope and promise for the building and so, you know, can we live up to it? But that’s a kind of standard fear that’s not rooted in anything that’s actually happened.”

In 2022, students and faculty at CGU and the Southern California Institute of Architecture worked together to co-author “Designing for Ingenuity and Innovation,” a case study of several buildings with environments that support collaborative learning. The study is meant to provide inspiration for the design of the new building.

According to Katrina Denman, a history doctorate student at CGU who was involved in the project, the Hive has also served as a source of inspiration, as have other spaces for interdisciplinary humanities at the 5Cs, including the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies at Claremont McKenna College.

Goode stated that the new building will prioritize opportunities for transdisciplinary work among different schools at CGU.

“We’re building new kinds of classroom spaces, [that are] flexible, meaning that walls will move, walls can be written on, spaces can be transformed…the building itself is going to be this kind of vibrant interdisciplinary space,” Goode said.

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