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Evergreen Valley College

Language Arts Building

San Jose, CA

Located in the heart of the EVC campus, a culturally diverse institution, the Language Arts program provides a ‘cultural center’ and gathering place of both formal and informal uses as distinct as the students it serves.

With welcoming expressive forms and features, the Center acts as a multicultural hub of activity that celebrates linguistic skills acquisition.

Through the integration of custom art on prefinished perforated metal panels, the Center earns a unique identity and place on campus. The art invents a formidable presence to the building while providing solar daylighting control to the internal learning environments.


Language is about conveying meanings and sharing experiences, whether lived experiences or creative theoretical conjecture. This became the foundation of the project from planning through implementation.


In a “Learner focused” design approach, design became more than the academic program or function of the space. Great emphasis was given to social and emotional experiences and how it makes the users feel. Use of clear multicolored glass symbolizing transparency and openness throughout the building, creation of formal and informal learning environments demonstrating “learning happens everywhere”, and implementation of “inclusive restrooms” are just some of the unique features which guided the design in communicating collective values throughout the spaces.

The project celebrates an environment where “EVERYONE is invited to join in”, promoting the values of diversity and cultural expressions, and more importantly reflecting on how these factors contribute to dialogue, mutual understanding, and the social, environmental and economic vectors of sustainable development.

Community Environment:

East San Jose is rich in cultural history and the diverse ethnic make-up of its population reflects that history. Spanish as a Heritage Language, Vietnamese and Sign Language are just some of the languages supported here. With a student body enrollment comprising of 90% minority groups, this building creates a bold statement in expressing the District and Evergreen Valley’s core values: inviting & welcoming to a diverse population!

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