Originally built in 1976, the Titan Student Union (TSU) is a mainstay of the Cal State Fullerton campus. Most students—commuter or residential—pass by or through the building each day. In 2012, a student governing board led the charge to improve the aging campus hub, revealing that they had saved years of student body fees and could fund and oversee an expansion. Student representatives expressed two primary objectives: To connect students to each other, while connecting the building to the campus.
The new 27,000 SF addition creates a front door experience for the campus community. The soaring triple-height atrium, which includes a below-grade expansion, integrates the variety of activities at TSU within one dynamic space. All three levels can be seen in a single glance. At the same time, each floor retains a distinct character. The lower level offers games, a bowling alley, and a maker space, while the second functions more like a cafe, with glass on three sides to see and be seen. In between these two levels, students can study and socialize on the grand staircase, which features stadium-style bench seating. The second floor supports student government offices as well as quieter collaborative areas.
Transparency in the building design serves a secondary function, maximizing a connection with nature and the outdoors, while also reducing the need for energy consumption during the day. In addition, the new facade, with its deep roof overhang, reduces heat gain throughout the year. For a 40-year-old building, the TSU is now a model of sustainability.