The Kravis Center: From Idea to Reality

The best campus design expresses a college’s identity. Claremont McKenna College’s identity is well established academically. The College has spent more than 65 years building the excellence of its faculty, departments, programs, and research institutes to attract the nation’s most accomplished students and teacher-scholars.

The campus itself represents an earlier era. The basic plan and architecture are a blend of the functionalism of the 1940s and the open-air access of the Monterey Colonial style, its roots in sunny Southern California. The campus has served the community well, but its evolution must continue. The College was due for a contemporary expression of its ethos of leadership in the liberal arts. CMC’s academic reputation is firmly set. Its outlook is global, and the campus was prepared for a world-class building that would provide the framework for future architectural development.



Welcome to CMC

Situated at the west end of campus, the Kravis Center is the new home for the admission and financial aid office. It welcomes prospective students and their families, as well as prospective faculty, alumni and esteemed visitors. As the College’s newest academic center, the building draws students and faculty to its classrooms and faculty offices, houses three academic departments, and serves five of CMC’s distinguished research institutes.

The Design

Inspired by the California landscape, architect Rafael Viñoly—creator of vaulted palaces of glass, light, and steel such as the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and the Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University—envisioned an integration of exterior terraces that would be used for classes or informal meetings. The building’s terraced floors are stepped back as the building rises to control scale and maintain harmony with the adjacent campus. The Kravis Center is as practical a design as it is stunning. Complementing and physically connected to the existing Roberts North and South, the Kravis Center continues their organization, and it opens the corridors to further engagement among academic disciplines.

Confluence and Collaboration

Students and faculty are drawn to the College’s intimate atmosphere, intense critical inquiry, and rigorous learning environment, coupled with hallmark research institutes who leading-edge programs engage a productive community of student-leaders and teacher scholars.

Respecting our established culture, the Kravis Center incorporates this spirit of collaboration into a contemporary, mixed-use building. It creates a stage for exciting synergies among students, faculty, departments, and research institutes.

The Kravis Center will transform the students’ college experience. They not only will study and learn in classrooms and research institutes, but also will meet and socialize in the many intimate indoor/outdoor courtyard and terrace spaces.

The faculty experience also will be fundamentally transformed. Having departments and institutes—formerly dispersed among assorted building—housed in one place will create cohesion among colleagues and inspire new interdisciplinary links.

“Who knows what interesting intellectual collaborations will emerge when the philosophers are housed with the government folk, and when historians are next to those in religious studies? The opportunities will be exactly what one hopes to find at a liberal arts college like CMC." – Amy Kind, Associate Professor of Philosophy.