International News: Neutra’s College under threat


by Robert Alexander and Richard Neutra, Costa Mesa, CA, US


Garrett Eckbo´s landscape architecture and the Richard Neutra and Robert Alexander designed structures at Orange Coast Community College are slated for demolition by the School District.

“Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California is one of three community colleges in the Coast Community College district. Its flagship campus, conceived after World War II, was constructed in the 1950s on a former army air base. Architect Robert Alexander was contracted by the District’s founding Board of Trustees to create a plan for the campus and initial buildings. Alexander partnered with internationally acclaimed architect Richard Neutra to design a series of six buildings for the campus.”

“Since their construction, the original structures have been largely maintained with some “added” modifications to their original designs. These missteps would not be difficult to reverse. For example, insensitively applied rooftop mechanical equipment could be removed restoring Neutra and Alexander’s original passive design features and the buildings strong horizontal gestures, significant design attributes even for today. As a whole, the buildings are intact, possess a high degree of design integrity and have immense potential for renovation and repurpose.

Portions of Eckbo’s landscape design, especially the hardscape, are also intact. Though some of the original plantings specified were never implemented, or have been replaced over time, archival photos housed at the Garrett Eckbo Collection at the University of California Berkeley Environmental Design Archives, can inform paving and planting decisions today. These documents make possible the rehabilitation of Eckbo’s simple, cost-effective scheme.”

In order to help, please send written comments with your voice of support to repurpose the Legacy Buildings and restore the Garrett Eckbo designed landscape.

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