MiraCosta College’s latest construction project comes complete with a green roof and vertical garden adorned with succulents and solar panels producing energy stored in a row of batteries to illuminate the structure at night. Built by students in the Materials and Construction course and based on plans developed by the Architectural Design class, the Sustainable Design Structure sits along a pathway between the Theatre and Administration Building at the Oceanside Campus and serves as a model of environmentally sensitive engineering.
“It’s basically an open pavilion providing an educational tool to promote sustainability and sustainable architecture,” said Architecture Professor and Design Department Chair David Parker.
“With the solar panels, the green roof, the sunlight that comes through and the natural ventilation, a lot of thought went into the sustainable aspects,” said architecture student Ricardo Martinez Herrera. “It was a pretty amazing project to work on.”
At a time of growing concern over the impacts of climate change, the pavilion—approximately the same shape as a shipping container but with a twist—offered an opportunity for students to explore, create and innovate with environmental design. Each spring, the Design Program schedules a course where students learn about the design process and how to design more sustainably, followed every summer with a class in which students build a small structure to sharpen their construction skills. Approximately 15 students took part in the spring course introducing them to sustainable design principles, and 12 took part in the summer program to build the structure that stands as a model for innovative sustainable ideas and solutions. Funding for materials—some of which were recycled—came through a $2,500 grant from the MiraCosta College Foundation.
“From concept to construction, there was a lot of learning going on,” said student Lynn Troncone, a former New York-based art director who enrolled at MiraCosta College in search of a new career. “It was a lot of fun putting it together, and I look at it as a piece of art.”
While the facility is not permanent, it will be left standing at least through spring.
“I’m hoping it creates a buzz in the campus community for the cool stuff you could do with sustainable design and that it becomes a popular feature for the campus, if even just on a temporary basis,” Parker said. “My objectives are to teach sustainable practices in a very practical way, to involve the students with a real problem and have them solve that problem through design and construction.”
About MiraCosta College
The MiraCosta Community College District has served the coastal North San Diego County area for over 80 years. More than 21,000 credit students per semester in over 70 disciplines enroll in associate degrees, university transfer and workforce readiness certificate programs. The college also serves a wide spectrum of educational needs in the region ranging from programs for adult education, basic skills, and ESL to a California Community College pilot program offering the nation’s first baccalaureate degree in biomanufacturing. MiraCosta College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).