CCA Master Plan Hero

CCA Master Plan

Crafting a Campus Vision

A venerable arts school steeped in California history plans a bold move

Campus Consolidation

California College of the Arts (CCA) is a century-old institution offering undergraduate and graduate studies in fine arts, architecture and design. In 2016, the college asked JENSEN to develop a comprehensive master plan with an ambitious goal: uniting CCA’s two campuses at a single, expanded San Francisco location. JENSEN engaged faculty, staff and students in an in-depth planning process, synthesizing the stakeholders’ wide-ranging input with data, research, and analysis. Through this iterative approach, a vision emerged for a dynamic, sustainable campus – one woven into the city and ready to seize the future of art and design education.

CCA Historic
1_Overview Presentation_YA notes 29-1
CCA Campus Planning Oakland Campus Backlot 2
CCA Campus Planning Historic Map

Deep Green

Central to the masterplan effort was CCA’s commitment to environmental sustainability. JENSEN framed an integrated approach that links resource and operational efficiency with the wellbeing of students, faculty, the neighborhood, and the environment. Preliminary explorations included building with mass timber, a renewable resource, and using heat from the studios’ kilns and furnaces to warm the building’s hot water. Art studios open to the courtyard, inviting curiosity and exchange, and providing natural ventilation. Ample green space captures rainwater for reuse, and importantly, brings together the campus and community.

CCA Master Plan Roof

The Right Fit

CCA’s San Francisco campus is a collection of properties anchored by its main building, an adapted bus maintenance facility. To unite the two campuses, the master plan proposes the  development of the Backlot, an outdoor makerspace where buses once parked. JENSEN studied how the needed mix of spaces for learning, making, and engaging might fit on the site, developing clear diagrams to illustrate concepts and alternatives. Stakeholders felt heard and ultimately embraced a plan for a unified campus: a multi-story academic building within a network of open spaces that weaves together the campus and the city, while preserving land for future growth.

CCA Master Plan Programming Render
CCA Master Plan Beta Nave
CCA Master Plan Atrium
CCA Master Plan Shop

First, Listen

Understanding the experiences, memories and legacy of this campus community was essential to envisioning its future in San Francisco.  JENSEN held rounds of interviews, discussions, and workshops to learn about CCA’s hands-on pedagogical approach and the future that faculty, students and leadership envisioned for the school. These conversations informed the master plan’s ten working themes for the new campus – its spatial qualities, connections with the city, and relationship with the environment.

cca master plan key themes
Connectivity CCA
CCA masterplan programming diagram v4
CCA Campus Plan Heart of Campus Programming 202
California College of the Arts
San Francisco


Project Leads
Mark Jensen
Dean Orr
Vanessa Moon


Luk and Associates
MEP, Sustainability & Mobility
Forell Elsesser Engineers
Cost Estimator
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