Occidental College

Occidental College, the alma mater of Barack Obama in Los Angeles, was recently renovated by famed designer Hagy Belzberg. The century-old Johnson Hall, with its facade as mash-up of neoclassical and Spanish colonial, had the inside completely gutted and redone to make it more conducive to learning.

Belzberg found that “the old passive learning paradigm—classrooms, lecture halls—was obsolete or at least heading that way” so he wanted to mix up the interior designs.

“The technological nexus of the entire building is in the lobby—an intervention that he describes as a “digital Post-it wall.” More properly called the Global Forum, it’s a gently folded plane in slumped glass, subtly textured and sandwiching a layer of vinyl printed with one of two graphic patterns. “Each glass panel fits in a particular place in the composition. It’s a jigsaw puzzle,”” he explains.

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