Orange Coast College / Neutra / Endangered

Orange Coast College (1954) by Richard Neutra and associates, Robert Alexander and Richard Pledger
Garrett Eckbo was the Landscape Architect 
The initial master plan for the campus was created by architect Robert E. Alexander in 1948 who also designed the first buildings on site. He was assisted by local Corona del Mar architect Richard Pleger who worked as an associate architect on the project. In 1952, a partnership with Richard Neutra was formed, and the two worked on the planning and architecture of the new OCC campus and furthered the seven year master plan to realization. The agreed-upon scope for the Neutra and Alexander work was that each would make basic conceptual idea/design contributions, with Neutra taking chief responsibility for the architectural design and Alexander assuming control of planning, organization, public relations, and logistics. Neutra provided design ideas for a business education building (complex), a science building (complex), an athletic facility, and a speech arts and music center with a large theatre. All the while, the architects were assisted by associate architect Richard Pleger who was hired on to help coordinate the projects locally; act as liaison between the architects, the Board, and the contractors; and provide general assistance. The OCC campus developed over a period of several years with the Neutra- and Alexander-designed features occurring throughout the 1950s.
After almost ten years of service, Neutra and Alexander’s contract was not renewed by the Board. Rather the Board considered a new set of architects to finish the initial master plan programming and author in a second phase of development and expansion for the campus. It was also at this time that the partnership of Neutra and Alexander began to strain and was ultimately dissolved in 1958. They both went on to manage their own architectural practices.
Source: Vision 2020 Master-plan 
Robert B. Moore Theatre (1954) by Neutra and Alexander
Photo: Julius Shulman, Getty Research Institute

Photo: Julius Shulman, Getty Research Institute

Photo: Julius Shulman, Getty Research Institute

Photo: Julius Shulman, Getty Research Institute

The theatre has been preserved over the years and is considered a significant historical landmark by school officials. The same can't be said for most of the other Neutra-Alexander buildings. 
The Science Building was completed in 1957

The planetarium is also by Neutra-Alexander 

 Another Neutra reflecting pool that didn't make it.

It's not looking good for the planetarium. The sign reads..."Future home of The Planetarium" I bet that makes the existing one feel good. Don't fret, the old dome is going to be reused at the entryway to one of the parking lots on campus.  
Here is what the plan calls for. It's part of a "Vision 2020" Master Plan that will gut the campus of most of the Neutra-Alexander buildings. Construction could start as soon as this summer. 
Source: OC Register 

This science building seen here is part of the core central campus. It and most of the Neutra-Alexander buildings will be demolished if the plan is approved. 
Photo: Julius Shulman, Getty Research Institute

The sculpture is "Armillary Sphere" by Peterpaul Ott and Alexander

Photo: Julius Shulman, Getty Research Institute

 It looks like 10 of the 13 remaining Richard Neutra and Robert Alexander buildings on the campus are slated for demolition. This includes all the buildings in the photographs above, with the exception of the theater.

From the EIR 
The proposed project anticipates the demolition of a majority of the existing core campus buildings, including the majority of contributing properties and landscape features to the potentially eligible OCC Campus Historic District. The existing setting of  the core campus area would be redesigned and reconfigured in a manner that would destroy all semblance of the historic character of the site and those qualities that convey the district’s historical significance, period of significance, and eligibility to the CRHR and local City of Costa Mesa landmark list.

School officials say they plan to incorporate Neutra elements into the new design, like they did here at their new Starbucks. Talk about architectural sacrilege!

 This clock is on the hit list too. The final decision on what stays and goes will be made soon. 

There will be a meeting this Monday, April 27, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. 
in the OCC Student Center Classroom.  

You can also email your concerns to