Art Center College of Design

1700 Lida St 
Pasadena CA 91103 

(626) 396-2200

Art Center College of Design

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Art Center College of Design
Art Center College of Design logo.svg
Motto Learn to create. Influence change.
Established 1930
Type Private
President Lorne Buchman
Provost Fred Fehlau
Students 1,737
Undergraduates 1,554
Postgraduates 183
Location Pasadena, CA, United States
Campus Suburban, 175 acres (71 ha)

Art Center College of Design (a.k.a. "Art Center") is a private college located in Pasadena, California, and was cited by Businessweek as one of the 60 best design schools in the world.[1] The college’s undergraduate and graduate industrial design programs are consistently ranked number one by DesignIntelligence. [2] U.S. News and World Report also ranks Art Center’s Art, Industrial Design and Media Design Practices programs among the top 20 graduate schools in the U.S.[3] Most recently, the growing influence of Art Center's Film programs resulted in the college's ranking among The Hollywood Reporter's list of the Top 25 Global Film Schools.[4]

Art Center offers undergraduate and graduate programs in a wide variety of art and design fields, as well as public programs for children and high school students, and continuing studies for adults in the Los Angeles metro area. Art Center is particularly known for its Transportation (Automobile) Design, Product Design and Entertainment Art and Design programs. It is one of the few schools to offer a degree in Interaction Design and also has notable Photography, Graphic Design, Advertising, Illustration, Fine Art, Film and Environmental Design programs. Art Center offers graduate degrees in Art, Environmental Design, Film, Industrial Design, Media Design Practices and Transportation Design. The college maintains two campuses in Pasadena; both are considered architecturally notable.

Art Center built its reputation as a vocational school, preparing returning G.I.s for work in the commercial arts fields [5] and began awarding degrees in 1949. It has traditionally maintained a strong "real world" focus, emphasizing craftsmanship, technique, and professionalism while somewhat de-emphasizing theory. Instructors are generally working professionals, and projects are intended to map to real-life clients or assignments, with some class projects being sponsored by industry or nonprofit organizations, including Nike, Disney, NASA, and BMW. During the past decade, Art Center has developed programs and projects that focus on design's potential to generate positive social change and improve people's lives through a college-wide initiative, Designmatters. In recognition of Art Center's commitment to addressing social and humanitarian issues through design, 2003 saw Art Center become the first design college to ever receive NGO (non-governmental organization) status by the United Nations.

Art Center offers programs year-round with three terms per year. While undergraduates can obtain a four-year Bachelor degree in about 2 years and 8 months (8 terms total), most students take a term off for independent study or to complete industry internships, or they enroll in part-time terms with light course loads, lengthening their stay to three or more years. The accelerated learning environment stems from the college's applied-art roots. Administrators and faculty aim to create a "real world" working environment, where the summer vacation does not exist.

The college logo is an orange circle, also known as the Art Center "Dot," which has been a part of the school's identity since its inception by founder Tink Adams [6] and a small number of colleagues.

Art Center is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges[1] and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design[2].


Art Center was founded in 1930 in downtown Los Angeles as the Art Center School. In 1935, Fred R. Archer founded the photography department, and Ansel Adams was a guest instructor in the late 1930s. During and after World War II, the Art Center ran a technical illustration program in conjunction with the California Institute of Technology. In 1947, the post-war boom in students caused the school to expand to a larger location in the building of the former Cumnock School for Girls in the Hancock Park neighborhood, while still maintaining a presence at its original downtown location. The school began granting Bachelor's and Master's degrees in arts in 1949, and was fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in 1955. In 1965, the school changed its name to Art Center College of Design. The school expanded its programs, including a film program in 1973. The school moved to its trademark Hillside Campus in Pasadena in 1976. The school operated the Art Center Europe in La Tour-de-Peilz, Switzerland for ten years starting in 1986. In 2003, the Art Center was granted Non-Governmental Organization status by the UN Department of Public Information. After mulling locations in Pasadena and downtown Los Angeles, Art Center opened the South Campus in Pasadena in 2004.


Art Center College of Design maintains two campuses in Pasadena: Hillside Campus and South Campus.

Hillside Campus

Photo of Art Center's Hillside Campus at night.

Designed by noted modernist architect Craig Ellwood, the Hillside Campus broke ground in November 1974. The trademark "bridge building" dramatically spanned an arroyo and roadway on 175 acres (71 ha) in the hills above Pasadena. Opening in 1976, the building was later expanded with the south wing, designed by former Ellwood associate James Tyler, and constructed between 1989-91. The Hillside Campus houses classrooms and studio space, multiple computer labs, the James Lemont Fogg Memorial Library, a model shop with traditional tools as well as rapid prototyping technologies (multi-axis CNC, laser-cutting, and multiple types of 3D printing), painting facilities, the Color, Material, and Trends Exploration Lab (CMTEL), an (Auto) Interior Simulation Lab, the Sinclair Pavilion, photo and film stages with printing and editing facilities, as well as a curated student gallery and an external exhibit gallery, both open to the public. The Hillside Campus has been designated as a historic monument by the City of Pasadena.[7]

South Campus

The South Campus opened in 2004 in a former aircraft-testing facility built during World War II. Renovated by the Santa Monica-based firm Daly Genik Architects, it houses the graduate Art and the Media Design Practices programs and studios, exhibition space for both of those programs, a print shop, a letterpress studio, a full range of public programs (Art Center at Night, Art Center for Kids, Design-Based Learning Lab), as well as a unique 16,000-square-foot (1,500 m2) exhibition space known as the Wind Tunnel, which is currently the home of the Media Design Practices program. The award-winning building was among the first to receive a LEED rating in the city of Pasadena and its sustainable features include a "green" roof and sculptural skylights made of Texlon ETFE. The Wind Tunnel has hosted major events including the biannual Art Center Design Conference, like 2008's "Serious Play"; an annual Summit on Sustainable Mobility, and "Stories from the Source: Radical Craft"; large exhibitions such as "Supersonic: 1 Wind Tunnel, 8 Schools, 120 Artists", "Gardenlab", and "Open House: Architecture and Technology for Intelligent Living" (with Vitra Design Museum); and various community meetings and events.

In 2012, Art Center announced the expansion of South Campus with the acquisition of a former U.S. Postal Service property adjacent to the existing campus. At that time, the college appointed Michael Maltzan Architecture as its partner in fulfilling and expanding its academic plan through the re-imagining of existing spaces, and the forward-looking design of new ones, at both of the College’s campuses.

Noted people

Sources: Google Maps, The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Wikipedia, Yahoo! Answers

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