Westmont College Global Leadership Center Opens

October 13, 2017
Westmont College’s Institute for Global Learning and Leadership was officially opened with a standing-room-only dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony. Carefully constructed on a steep site amidst a stand of heritage California oaks, the Institute functions as both a residence for senior students returning from a year’s study abroad and a conference center between semesters. The Institute builds on the students’ global experience to prepare them for future worldwide leadership positions and encourages them to not only live on campus but to also undertake leadership roles; it also generates revenue from the use of the facility for conferences. The project consists of two residential buildings, surrounding a central commons, comprised of several multipurpose seminar and lounge spaces, an apartment for the residential hall director, a café, admin offices and an outdoor amphitheater. To minimize environmental impact, the residence buildings are “floating” pods, constructed on caisson footings, post-tensioned slabs and gabion rock baskets, which allows the storm water to flow beneath the buildings to the oak tree roots. Walkways and bridges, illuminated by hanging lights, conform to the site’s topography and stitch the buildings together. Each of the two-story residences has 17 units—accommodating 2 to 3 students each—with large communal kitchens on both floors. Building materials reflect the site’s context, with exposed, fire-resistant timber construction and stone veneers cut from boulders excavated on campus. Highly sustainable, the buildings are designed for efficiency, incorporating natural cross ventilation, operable windows, clerestory glazing, green screens and a bioswale to capture rainwater. The project is targeting LEED Gold certification.