USC School of Cinematic Arts
If you’re an aspiring filmmaker with dreams of achieving greatness on the scale of Steven Spielberg or George Lucas, it probably doesn’t hurt to take college classes inside buildings named after them.
The new home of the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts is a four-acre complex composed of six buildings, two of which are named after the acclaimed filmmakers and dubbed the project’s “crown jewels” by The Wall Street Journal.
USC created the new complex after receiving sizable donations — including $175 million from Lucas, who the Journal called an architectural hobbyist. The Journal commented that Lucas and the architects “focused on quality rather than quantity when it came to detail” at USC. Lucas, whose films include the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” franchises, donated $75 million for the construction project and $100 million to the School of Cinematic Arts endowment.
That “quality” includes Hope’s Jamestown175™ Series solid hot-rolled steel windows and doors.
When Lucas made his donation – the single largest gift in the university’s history – he specifically requested that the new campus for the School of Cinematic Arts reflect the historic Mediterranean (or Southern California Mission) style prevalent in 1929, the year USC adopted film studies as part of its curriculum.
The project included 200 custom crafted Hope’s arched and rectangular windows. The buildings feature high-tech classrooms alongside Tuscany-inspired belvederes, interior courtyards, tile roofs, and wrought iron gates.
The project architect said the design team was impressed with the structural strength the thin Hope’s window profiles achieve.
“The university is very pleased with the elegant look realized by the quality of Hope’s steel windows and doors,” says Carter Moore, an architect with Urban Design Group of Dallas, who worked on all phases of the project and served as project manager for the final phase.
Prior to each construction phase, Moore says the design team and contractor traveled to Hope’s manufacturing facilities in Jamestown, NY, to review how Hope’s custom handcrafts its hot-rolled steel windows and doors.
In addition to providing an elegant aesthetic, Moore says the durability of Hope’s products enabled the team to achieve another design objective: to create buildings that would last for generations.
“A high-profile project like this, which must satisfy some of the most creative minds in the world, received tremendous attention to detail,” Moore says. “There’s no doubt we will be using Hope’s again in future projects.”
Even before the final phase began, the project received the prestigious Grand Prize at the 41st annual Los Angeles Architectural Awards.
The USC School of Cinematic Arts boasts a long list of successful alums. The 200,000-square foot interior space in the new complex is home to courses in traditional film and television, but also animation, interactive, video games, and other technologies.