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Maya & Olmeca Residence Halls, San Diego State University
San Diego, CA
Revamping twin legacies.
Making student housing home.
An exceptional renovation becomes the standard
The twin sister buildings, Maya and Olmeca Residence Halls at San Diego State University, are two of many legacy ‘red-brick’ 3-story buildings that were built throughout the CSU system. HED’s design team was challenged to restore and refresh the student spaces while maintaining much of the fundamental architecture, emphasizing the unique original features of the building.

Creating openness and flow through the buildings with lots of collaborative areas designed for studying, playing, eating, and hanging out became the main goal of the project.

HED led the full interior renovation of both buildings, including the design of the student common areas, lounges, dorms, and restrooms. Working through the challenges with the original structural components and how integral they became to the open floor plan, helped the design in showcasing the distinctive and native architectural elements. Olmeca Hall, adjacent to the Maya Residence Hall, serves as the main entry to both, and the layouts of the Maya common areas were reconfigured to connect the students more with the extensive outdoor gathering spaces, swimming pools, and grilling areas. Indoor collaborative spaces were filled with strategic amenities to build community among the students, such as a full-size kitchen and eating area, gaming, study room, and built-in reading niches. These amenities are centrally clustered at each floor level creating social gravity and a sense of belonging.
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Results
Besides selecting the majority of sustainable materials for the design, the design cuts water and energy use by switching to all new dimmable LED lighting in the building, installing occupancy sensors in all spaces, and using low-flow fixtures in the bathrooms and kitchen.
The mechanical system has been fully updated to meet all of the California Title 24 requirements and Building System Control Monitoring was installed with 3 panel monitors in the central lobby added so students can see real-time energy usage, and learn ways to reduce energy consumption.
Recycling bins were installed at several different gathering areas for effective waste sorting and removal.
Olmeca functions as the secured entry way to both buildings. This secured checkpoint and the exteriors of Olmeca were redesigned to meet modern security needs and aesthetics.
Our Design-Build team was challenged with taking buildings opened in 1957 and creating modern, vibrant, well-functioning spaces that address the needs of current and future students…and doing so with limited time and budget. The team did a masterful job of not only meeting expectations, but exceeding them in terms of design, schedule, function, and budget. With other CSU campuses managing similar ‘Red Brick’ buildings on their campuses, this project will be a template for excellence.”
Project Data
Maya & Olmeca Residence Halls PCA
San Diego State University
San Diego, California
PROJECT SCOPE
Renovation
HED ROLE
Architecture (Full Service)
RSF/GSF
68,000
CONSTRUCTION COST
$13.4 Million
SUSTAINABILITY LEVEL
LEED Certified Equivalent
Project Team
  • Kevin Perry
    AIA, LEED AP
    Principal
    Sector Leader
  • Chris Schumm
    AIA
    Associate
    Architecture
  • Randy Chumley
    Associate
    Project Management
View more higher education stories
Making student housing home.
Maya & Olmeca Residence Halls, San Diego State University
San Diego, CA
PROJECT DATA
PROJECT TEAM
View more higher education stories
Revamping twin legacies.