In a world obsessed with making old things look young, it’s unusual – and surprisingly difficult – to do the opposite. But that’s precisely why Sundt was hired to construct the West Hall classroom and lab building at California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI) in Camarillo.


The project was originally planned to be a major remodel/ren­ovation, but it evolved into a complete tear-down and rebuild when Sundt showed the university how it could have the best of both worlds: a brand new building filled with state-of-the-art features with a look that blends convincingly with the surrounding historic architecture. Best of all, Sundt’s innovative approach wouldn’t increase the project’s budget.


Spanish mission-style buildings like those seen on much of the CSUCI campus have clay tile roofs and long, smooth white walls. Newer buildings designed to mimic the historic look usually fall short in one obvious way: the control joints used to prevent cracking on the exterior create visible seams that give away the structure’s true age. However, we had previously developed a technique for mitigating this common problem while constructing the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union at San Diego State University. When CSUCI learned about it, they decided to entrust us to use the same approach on their West Hall project. The result? The perfect balance of old and new, all for the right price.


Photos (top, middle)

Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union at San Diego State University

Photo (bottom)

West Hall at California State University Channel Islands