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clifton hall student housing, california college of the arts oakland, calif.

campus housing / merit

clifton hall student housing, california college of the arts oakland, calif.

campus housing / merit

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    Ethan Kaplan

    The dorm’s Broadway facade sits like a beacon on one of Oakland’s main thoroughfares.

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    Ethan Kaplan

    Around the corner, the Broadway Terrace elevation features bays that complement the prevalent architecture of nearby homes.

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    Mark Horton

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    Ethan Kaplan

    A zinc, ovoid-shaped lounge structure anchors the campus-facing side.

This nifty little dormitory had to please a roll call of constituencies. (Or, as architect Mark Horton tactfully offers, “it had to moderate a number of different conditions.”) The front facade, which presents itself as a beacon-like lantern, is at the hinge point of Broadway, where commercial gives way to residential. The Broadway Terrace elevation faces residential housing; its set-back, stucco-colored bays are a nod to nearby housing styles. But it's the Clifton Street face, overlooking the college campus, that expresses the most action.

Here, the housing is organized in a checkerbox-patterned bar that runs along the long north line of the property. It's anchored by a sophisticated, zinc-covered, ovoid-shaped building that houses the dormitory lounges. “When you're doing a dorm, you end up with a single element, a window, that you have to repeat over and over,” says Horton. “Putting the lounges into a separate object really helped the scale of the project.”

The judges agreed. The phrase “nice scale” popped up again and again, along with “very orderly,” “clever,” and “quite spectacular.” Call it a graduation with honors.

principal in charge / project architect: Mark Horton, AIA, Mark Horton / Architecture
general contractor: Rick Spickard, Oliver Construction, Richmond, Calif.
developer: David Kirshman, California College of the Arts, Oakland
landscape architect: Eric Blasen, Blasen Landscape, Sausalito, Calif.
project size: 24,100 square feet; site size: 0.28 acre
construction cost: $160 per square foot
units in project: 126
photographer: Ethan Kaplan