By Jeffrey Steele
The latest Chapman University development project, including a 402-bed student housing development, has been approved by the City of Orange, Calif. Irvine, Calif.-based KTGY Architecture + Planning played a key role in project planning. The firm’s responsibility was to ensure project consistency with KTGY-prepared Specific Plan Design Guidelines, coordinate with various design firms, provide design recommendations and guide the project through a complex approval process.
“One of the key aspects of this challenging project is that the site is integrated with the City of Orange Old Towne Historic District, the largest National Register District in California,” Ken Ryan, principal and head of KTGY’s Community Planning and Urban Design Studio, told MHN. “We utilized our Specific Plan Design Guidelines as the foundation for repurposing the VPO [Villa Park Orchards Association Packing House] project.”
Century of history
The packing house was originally built for the Santiago Orange Growers Association 100 years ago this year. It became the world’s largest exclusive shipper of oranges and went on to shape the development of its section of Old Towne Orange.
“Our Design Guideline approach is contextual, reflecting the community‘s existing setting and relationships,” Ryan said. “The central area of the campus is more academic, utilizing existing neo-classical influences, with the northern campus area embracing a more residential character. The western area of the campus reflects the industrial setting in which the project is located. Our team embraced the opportunity to repurpose old, no longer used industrial buildings and brought them back to life as part of the history and culture of the City of Orange.”
When addressing the residential building design, the design team worked to provide an appropriate massing and scale in relation to the packing house and Cypress Street, Ryan said. “We set back the entrance, pulled the building back away from the packing house and stepped back the third and fourth floor from the street,” he added.
“We also incorporated some elements on the roof that mirrored those of the packing house. There’s also an open gathering area between the residential building and packing house. It’s a large functional and aesthetically pleasing space. The rear portion of the packing room will be reserved for university uses, and connect to this large courtyard that exposes the basement of the packing area [and connects] to the residential hall.”
The residential building is U-shaped, providing a connection and buffer with the Residential Courtyard, Ryan added.
Nod to railroading past
The residence hall is primarily comprised of two-bedroom, two-bath suites with kitchens and living rooms, which are largely intended for first- and second-year students. The goal was to ensure the new building would be large enough to accommodate an appropriate number of beds, without overwhelming the packing house.
The team relocated two other industrial buildings that had stood on the site of the new residence hall. “We also incorporated an old rail line that didn’t exist anymore as part of a physical, visual and emotional connection,” Ryan said. “We use the rail line ceremonially to bring history back to life and tell an historic story about the site. It’s a walkway, a landscape zone embedded in the pavement and in the landscaping and it connects to the buildings. So we had some fun with that historical element.”
He added the project was “a labor of love” for the entire team. “KTGY, AC Martin, Togawa Smith, Peyton Hall, Bennitt Design Group, Hunt Design and Ruzika Design all were passionate about making this project a success for Chapman and the community,” he concluded.