Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Malott Commons

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Institution Name: Scripps College
Original/Historic Place Name: Florence Rand Lang Art Building
Location on Campus: 345 E. 9th St.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1935original construction Kaufmann, Gordon Levin, Brenda
1936-1937creation of central courtyard, additional classrooms, studios, galleries Unknown
1938addition of Seal Court Unknown
1947addition of Stewart Court Unknown
2002renovation and addition Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: none specified
Walls: none specified
Roof: none specified
ca. 1935-1992academic department building (art)
ca. 2002-present (2007)administration
ca. 2002-present (2007)dining hall
ca. 2002-present (2007)student union

Significance: architecture, education, history, landscape
Landmark designation:
National RegisterScripps College for Women (1984)
Narrative: see below
References: see below

The Malott Commons, a stunning example of the expansion and adaptive reuse of an historic building, was opened on February 14, 2002, providing a central dining facility for the campus, together with various student services and offices.

Originally named the Florence Rand Lang Art Building in honor of the Pasadena donor, the original two studios were built in 1935. Additional gifts made by Mrs. Lang in 1936 and 1937 financed the construction of the central courtyard, weaving rooms, ceramics studios, exhibit rooms, and galleries. Gordon Kaufmann designed the facility in close collaboration with Scripps Professor of Art Millard Sheets

As Coats and Harvey Sahak observe, "with the construction in 1992 of the Keck Science Center and subsequent move of the studio arts complex into the former joint science building, this area was available for a campus commons" (Bruce Coats and Judy Harvey Sahak, Guide to the Scripps College Campus [Claremont, CA: Scripps College, 2002]). Los Angeles architect Brenda Levin designed extensive renovations and additions after having conferred extensively with Scripps constituencies regarding the defining characteristics of the College's architecture and landscape. The College named the complex for trustee and donor Elizabeth Hubert Malott '53

Seal Court, added in 1938, is located within the Malott Commons. Previously surrounded by studios for painting, weaving, and ceramics, the Seal Court is a physical reminder of the former use of those spaces. As noted in the 1960 Guide to the College, "In the center of the court is a pool, ornamented by two ceramic seals, designed by Mr. Stevens and fired by Mr. William Manker, a former instructor of ceramics. The sides of the pool are enhanced by a series of mosaic panels and sea forms, designed by students of Scripps College and Pomona College. The work of students is also represented by: the panel of the doorway of the ceramics rooms on the subject of the history of ceramics by Verna Brydon Cornish, class of '40; the tile decoration of Pegasus over the south entrance to this court by Hal Shelton, a student in the Claremont Graduate School in 1940-41; the mural in the north painting studio depicting workers in the orange groves, which was the senior project of Marie-Anne Poniatowska, class of '52; and the large mosaic panel in the East Court by Katharine Irwin and Margaret Dooly Olwell, both of the class of '37." Note: As a result of the rehabilitation project, Poniatowska's striking mural was relocated to the foyer of the Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Hall, and the stunning Irwin/Olwell mosaic was incorporated within a women's restroom.

Stewart Court is a sunken garden located to the west of the Commons. Kaufmann and Sheets had originally designed the space as an Oriental Garden in 1947. The garden walls incorporate ceramic grills that feature Chinese motifs designed by Richard Petterson, a Scripps ceramics professor, as well as Chinese stone sculptures. Shortly after the completion of the Commons, the garden was named for and dedicated to Professors Marion and Albert Stewart, who had both been members of the Art Department faculty. A focal point of Stewart Court is Fawn Fountain, which was designed by Albert Stewart. Marion Stewart donated a bronze urn by Albert, which was installed next to the fountain.

I. Bibliographic sources:

A Tour of the Campus Including an Account of Special Collections, Certain Architectural Features, and Other Items. Claremont, CA: Scripps College, 1960.

Belloli, Jay et al. Johnson, Kaufmann, and Coate: Partners in the California Style. Claremont, CA: Trustees of Scripps College, 1997.

Bernard, Robert J., An Unfinished Dream: A Chronicle of the Group Plan of the Claremont Colleges. Claremont, CA: Claremont University Center, 1982.

Birnbaum, Charles R., and Robin Karson, eds. Pioneers of American Landscape Design. New York: McGraw Hill, 2000.

Campus Master Plan. Archives, Scripps College, Claremont, CA.

Clark, Alson. "The 'California' Architecture of Gordon B. Kaufmann." Society of Architectural Historians Southern California Chapter Review 1, no. 3 (1982): 1-8.

Coats, Bruce and Judy Harvey Sahak. Guide to the Scripps College Campus. Claremont, CA: Scripps College, 2002.

Deferred Maintenance and Capital Renewal Report. [Claremont, CA: Scripps College, n.d.].

Eckbo, Garrett. Urban Landscape Design. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964.

Horowitz, Helen Lefkowitz. Alma Mater: Design and Experience in the Women's Colleges from their Nineteenth-Century Beginnings to the 1930s. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985.

Landscape and Architectural Blueprint. Forthcoming. Scripps College, Claremont, CA.

Larson, Jens Frederick and Archie MacInnes Palmer. Architectural Planning of the American College. New York and London: McGraw-Hill, 1933.

Lyon, E. Wilson. The History of Pomona College, 1887-1969. Claremont, CA: Pomona College [in consortium with Scripps College], 1977.

Polyzoides, Stephanos. "Gordon B. Kaufmann, Edward Huntsman-Trout, and the Design of the Scripps College Campus." In Johnson, Kaufmann, and Coate: Partners in the California Style. Claremont, CA: Trustees of Scripps College, 1997, 83-113.

Scripps College. Cultural Landscape Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, [forthcoming].

Solomon, Barbara Miller. In the Company of Educated Women. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press, 1985.

Turner, Paul Venable. Campus: An American Planning Tradition. New York: Architectural History Foundation; Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1984.

II. Location of other data:
University: Library, Special Collections
Government Offices
Other: UCLA Special Collections, Edward Huntsman-Trout Papers, Los Angeles, California

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