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Harvey Mudd Shanahan Center for Teaching + Learning

Claremont, CA

Harvey Mudd Shanahan Center for Teaching + Learning

Claremont, CA

The Shanahan Center supports and showcases our commitment to cutting-edge, interdisciplinary, experimental education. It has become the academic and social heart of our campus, both physically and symbolically.

Maria Klawe, President, Harvey Mudd College

Bora’s design for a new academic and social center at Harvey Mudd College provided a bold heart and face for this small and mighty institution. Their energy, positive reputation and trajectory in higher education needed more than the existing basement labs and concrete block buildings could offer. Our mission was to showcase innovative teaching and project-based learning, and nurture social interactions in ways that were previously unavailable to the campus community.

Our solution needed to respond to Harvey Mudd’s formal plan and organization, finding an architectural expression that would be respectful of the vernacular while providing the fresh experience students and faculty wanted. The final building massing takes cues directly from campus precedent, including engagement with the central mall. Permeability and transparency throughout the building set a new institutional standards, with access from all directions, internal and external visibility, and spaces that blur distinctions between teaching and socializing. The building draws people in and encourages them to stay.

Aesthetically, our design of the exterior metal shingle cladding was the result of meticulous context analysis. We took inspiration from the relentless modularity and coloration of Harvey Mudd’s standard concrete block material, and created something simultaneously recognizable and unprecedented. This analytic process resonated with the engineers and mathematicians of Harvey Mudd College, and appealed to their equally creative sensibilities as well.

The temperate climate of Southern California lets students and faculty live in, around, and on top of this building. It is their academic home and gives a renewed physical presence to the Harvey Mudd community.




Excellence in Design Award, City of Claremont (2013)

LEED Gold Certified


Matt Construction