From the chairs to the stairs, every detail within the new Steven G. Mihaylo Hall is the result of an all-encompassing collaboration. Students, faculty, staff, alumni, administrators, architects, contractors and friends of the college all weighed in on creating a world-class home for Cal State Fullerton’s College of Business and Economics.
“The very social process of exchanging ideas for this building was something I really enjoyed,” says Ernest Cirangle, AIA, the design director for the project for HOK architecture firm in Los Angeles. “The ideas that came out of this collaboration were really productive.”
Four years from start to finish, the three buildings that make up Mihaylo Hall stand as a flagship at the front of the campus at the new intersection of Folino Drive and Nutwood Avenue. This theme of “intersections” was an intentional element throughout the design, says Cirangle. “The building has two characters. First, it has a more business-like appearance and generous entrance on the public side toward the street. Second, toward the campus side, it has a university scale and several avenues and crossroads where students can walk from different corners of the campus straight through this complex of buildings. People are encouraged to interact with each other and exchange ideas. We organized the building to facilitate that.”
Of course, the first step into the building’s Grand Foyer is impressive, and Michael Smith calls it the heart of Mihaylo Hall. “It is the cornerstone in making this building not only unique but pleasurable. It’s not like anything else on campus,” says Smith, director of the Office of Design and Construction for Cal State Fullerton. “It’s the great meeting space to collaborate in.”
Mihaylo Hall is also a showcase of cutting-edge technology – from teaching tools to office furnishings. With an eye toward society’s priorities in the future, the hall was also built with strong environmental considerations – from the use of renewable building materials to maximum exposure to natural light. “We integrated sustainability from day one, because the modern expectation is to do buildings differently,” says Smith. “It’s no longer just putting up brick and mortar. The building is energy efficient and built with a socially responsible design.”
With the dedication of Turner Construction Company (the project’s contractors, who donated both time and materials for various portions), HOK architects, Dean Puri and his team, and the Office of Design and Construction – a combined group that traveled the nation visiting a variety of buildings to gather ideas – this four-year, $89 million project arrived on schedule for the start of the fall 2008 semester and functions as a true home to all of the people who learn, teach and work within the spectacular structure. “It is a really interesting intersection of both a business building and a hall of education,” says Cirangle. “We saw the merging of these two worlds – business and education – and knew we could make a good impact.”