CalArts Space Planning

Future Proofing CalArts

Founded in 1970, the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) is a private art university located in Santa Clarita, California. CalArts was founded in accordance with Walt Disney’s vision of an interdisciplinary art school in which all of the Institute’s programs, spanning Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater, would coexist under one roof.

This vision is evident in the university’s 500,000 sq ft Main Building, which Disney described as “the principal thing I hope to leave when I move on to greener pastures.”. As CalArts grew over the last 50 years, a number of student spaces were converted into classrooms and administrative offices, limiting the space available for student collaboration.

We were engaged by CalArts to lead an in-depth planning process. This involved working closely with university leaders and faculty to develop criteria for program prioritization and space planning principles. Our analysis focused on tactical, cost efficient opportunities and will guide future renovation projects.

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Emily Puhnaty, Director of Business Development & Communications