De Anza College Media and Learning Center

  • Location:

    Cupertino, California

  • Client:

    Foothill - De Anza Community College District

  • Construction Value:


  • Delivery Method:


  • Year Completed:


  • Specialties:

    Higher Education, Sustainability

Features & Highlights

  • LEED Platinum®
  • Team overcame frequent rains, as well as technical and utility work challenges
  • Built in middle of occupied campus with little to no laydown, parking, or staging areas
Project Overview

The De Anza College Media and Learning Center is one of the most technology-enhanced and environmentally friendly buildings in the United States. The two-story facility offers students and faculty a modern, state-of-the-art environment for academic pursuits, including classrooms designed for online collaborative instruction in real time, a dedicated television recording studio, laboratories, and a student lounge. Two adjoining classrooms with seating for up to 50 students can be combined to accommodate a larger classroom with up to 100 seats. The 66,900-square-foot building is structured around a sky-lit atrium and features an innovative buoyancy-driven air circulation system.

Meeting the building’s complex technical specifications and overcoming challenges put Sundt’s creativity to the test. The Media and Learning Center was one of the first facilities in the United States to have a buoyancy-driven air circulation system. The system included lots of compound angles in the shafts, changes in plane, and various components that had to be installed just right, not only for the system to function properly, but because of site access and weather constraints.

The project was constructed in the heart of an occupied campus with little to no laydown, parking, or staging areas, and it began during the rainy season. Well-planned logistics were crucial to achieve minimal impact to students and faculty. Sundt set up its initial staging area where the plaza would ultimately be constructed, then relocated it inside the uncompleted building. Site utility work presented challenges as well: the team had to take other buildings offline temporarily to fix preexisting infrastructure that was not up to code, along with performing a tie-in of a 1,500-foot fiber optic cable through the middle of campus. Altogether, the team experienced approximately 30 days of rain total, but managed to stay on schedule through hard work and creative approaches.

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“Sundt’s personnel were good listeners and paid attention. One thing I really liked about Sundt was their ability to deal well with any project unknowns.”

Tom Armstrong, Bond Director, Foothill – De Anza Community College District


Awards & Accolades

2013 Best Projects, Award of Merit, ENR California

2013 Owners’ Project Excellence Awards, Western Council of Construction Consumers

  • Exceptional Project category
  • Innovative Project Solutions category
  • Sustainability Excellence category

2013 WCCC Distinguished Buildings, New, Western Council of Construction Consumers

2013 Citation Award for Energy and Sustainability, American Institute of Architects, San Francisco