Holly Street Studio Honors the Past While Looking to the Future

Nearing its 50 year anniversary, Phoenix College’s C Building gets an internal revitalization by Holly Street Studio.

The renovation of Phoenix College’s C Building provided a rare opportunity to learn from and embrace mid-century architectural aspirations with present-day learning and technology needs.

The new design restored the building’s inherent elegance, clarified its presence on the campus, while integrating the robust technical requirements of a laboratory building. All of this, while catalyzing social engagement in the study of science at the same time.
— Diane Jacobs, Principal

Phoenix College’s “C Building” has served chemistry students since its construction in 1969. The original building, designed by Ralph Haver, has undergone a complete internal redesign by Holly Street Studio. Focusing on efficient and adequate space for programs, collaborative learning environments, enhanced natural lighting, and modern sustainable building systems, the redesign was accomplished while preserving most of the original exterior structure.

Holly Street Studio’s restoration of this piece of Phoenix College has increased the school’s capacity to train and educate students with the most advanced methods available while creating a space that is engaging and inspiring. Every aspect of this renovation was crafted with intention that is apparent throughout the entire building. The redesigned science classrooms encourage curiosity with windows on most walls, some of which are used to connect multiple classrooms. The staircase-adjacent wall features a cross-section of the Grand Canyon including the era in which the rock layers were formed. This creative attention to detail has brought the dated building back to life in a way that connects people to place while honoring the unique history of this space and our state.

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Higher education plays a critical role in supporting the local economy. According to this Brookings report, 68% of students who attend two-year institutions, such as Phoenix College, will stay in the area of their college after attending compared to 42% of students who attend four-year institutions. Increasing the supply of an educated and skilled workforce not only increases the buying power of local consumers, but also makes our state an attractive place for new businesses to call home. This is particularly important for those that rely on skilled trades, an industry in which over half of the workforce is 45 and older.

Community colleges offer several opportunities for students who may not otherwise be able to pursue higher education or careers in skilled trades. Regardless of the paths taken by students who attend Phoenix College, they each stand to benefit from modern, well-equipped spaces for learning.

As institutions such as these continue finding opportunities to revitalize their spaces, partnering with local firms such as Holly Street Studio is critical to ensuring our built environment reflects our community - past, present, and future.

Brooke NisenbaumComment