Jeff Kunde Hall

The recently completed Jeff Kunde Hall at Santa Rosa Junior College’s main campus in Santa Rosa is a 25,000 square foot facility that provides temporary housing for classrooms and labs, and a permanent home for the Math Department’s faculty offices.

The two linear buildings of Kunde Hall are organized around a landscaped central courtyard that serves as a social hub and circulation space for students and faculty.  Each classroom has generous storefront glazing facing the courtyard, creating a strong indoor/outdoor connection.  A grand staircase touches down in the plaza at the east end of the site and serves as a welcoming sculptural feature while providing access to the offices and classrooms at the upper level.  The roof forms of the two buildings were carefully considered to provide superior daylighting and solar orientation, conceal mechanical equipment, and mitigate shadowing impacts to the neighboring single-family residential buildings.

The design features abundant daylight, high-performance mechanical systems, and flexibility for spaces to be easily reconfigured in future phases of the bond program and beyond.  Using modular construction, the design-build team was able to successfully deliver the building within the requirements of a very ambitious schedule, while featuring a beautiful cementitious board on the exterior skin to meet the high standards for design and quality that is expected on this heritage campus.

Design Challenge

Five significant challenges influenced the design of Kunde Hall. Kunde Hall is predominately a swing space, needed to house displaced departments and classes, as SRJC carries out its ambitious Measure M Bond projects.  As those projects are underway, Kunde Hall will transform to accommodate the varied instructional and programmatic needs of its inhabitants.  With flexibility and future transformation in mind, the design team selected a modular structural system, as it spans the width of the building, allowing the interior of the building to be redesigned easily without internal columns.  In addition, the design team selected a VRF mechanical system, so only duct work and fan coils will need alteration, allowing the rooftop equipment to remain in place as the building transforms. Because Kunde Hall is a swing space, its completion was the first domino of the Measure M Bond projects to follow.  The building needed to be completed quickly to enable multiple departments and classes to move in, so that other buildings could be demolished and to ensure that bond deadlines were being met.  A modular design was selected so fabrication of the building’s skeleton could take place off-site simultaneously with on-site foundation work, reducing months of construction time. Santa Rosa Junior College is over 100 years old, and its buildings are stately.  Additionally, the building site is growing into a neighborhood; single-family homes rest on three sides of the site.   Designing a modular building that’s responsive to both campus design and the adjacent neighborhood posed another challenge.  In response, the building exterior mirrors the brick prevalent in SRJC buildings to evoke a similar texture without being a copy, and to transition from the brick of the campus to the design of the neighboring single-family homes. Further, SRJC requested that their neighbors to the North not be cast in perpetual shadow, and a single-story building was not enough to meet the building’s programmatic needs.  In response, Kunde Hall is two structures—a single-level structure to the North and a two-story structure directly adjacent to the college.  The structures were pulled as far apart as possible to ensure light for both neighbors and the outdoor courtyard connecting the structures.  The building size is also meant to transition from the scale of the college to the scale of the adjacent neighborhood. Finally, while most of the building is swing space, SRJC’s Math department will be permanently housed in Kunde Hall, so while the rest of the building needed to be flexible, the Math Department needed a permanent home in the building.  As such, the Math department had a major influence on the ultimate design; they requested placement on the second floor and all faculty offices to have a window to the exterior.  A portion of the building was customized specifically for the department, while the rest of Kunde Hall needed to remain flexible.

Physical Context

The site for Jeff Kunde Hall is on the perimeter of the Santa Rosa Junior College campus where the College acquired adjoining properties in the single-family residential neighborhood across Elliott Avenue to the north, allowing the campus to expand.   By placing a single-story building along the northern edge and a two-story building along the southern edge, the site serves as a transition between the single-story residential properties to the north and the greater SRJC campus to the south.  Along the southern edge of the property Elliott Avenue is a relatively busy street with lots of traffic to and from one of the main campus parking lots to the west.  By locating all of the building access off of the courtyard between the buildings, students are protected from the noisy street and the more pedestrian feeling of a college campus is maintained.  Across Elliott Avenue to the south, a new STEM campus core is under construction.  A grand staircase from Jeff Kunde Hall touches down in the plaza at the corner of the site, serving as a welcoming sculptural feature while providing access between the Math Department offices on the upper level and the future STEM campus core.  Red brick dominates the heritage buildings on the Santa Rosa Junior College campus.  The exterior of Jeff Kunde Hall is primarily Oko Skin, a cementitious board with three different textures that is installed in a running bond pattern that evokes the texture of masonry, but with a more contemporary aesthetic.