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Campus Master Plan

Purpose of the Master Plan

CSULB will grow to share in the need to accommodate the demand for higher education by students in California. Additionally, outdated, inefficient and obsolete facilities will need to be improved and replaced to meet the Strategic Plan. The Campus Master Plan constitutes the next step in the strategic planning effort.  

The campus Master Plan’s purpose is to further the University’s mission and to document the vision for the physical environment. This Campus Master Plan document provides a framework for land use, open space, development and circulation.  Within this framework, the University will prepare and update capital outlay improvement and development plans for specific identified projects. 

The Campus Master Plan will guide the development of CSULB in the coming years. Decisions regarding the allocation of resources will be informed by this document and the strategic planning that has gone into its development. The Campus Master Plan is a realistic and feasible plan for the University based on the long standing planning that has formed the campus character and physical environment. It shows the implementation and logical progression of the evolution of the University in the 21st century.

Site and Architectural Characteristics

Located 3 miles from the Pacific Ocean, the CSULB campus spans 322 acres with 84 buildings. CSULB is bounded by 7th Street to the south, Atherton Street to the north, Bellflower Boulevard to the west, and Palo Verde Avenue to the east.
The topography of the site is relatively flat, with the southern area of the campus rising approximately 80 feet from north to south. Bouton Creek, a drainage easement that runs diagonally through the northern campus, although some of the easement is covered, has been a significant form giving feature to the physical plan. 

The architecture of the campus is mostly of the International style, placing emphasis on the open landscaped areas throughout the campus and creating a naturalistic, park-like setting. The integration of landscaping and architecture is apparent at the somewhat formal quadrangle of the south campus, and at the promenade traversing the campus from west to east. In contrast are rolling hills of grass with thoughtfully located trees of a variety of species. Tree canopies have been utilized to define smaller open spaces in a manner appropriate to the mild coastal climate. At the Carpenter Performing Arts Center, a dense grove of ficus trees is planted in such a way that it forms a continuation of the pillar-supported canopy at the theater's entrance. Some of the university’s student services functions that can have long lines of students at certain times during the academic year are located in the open courtyard of E. James Brotman Hall, which is "roofed" by a similar jungle-like canopy. The Psychology building is also notable for its soaring, courtyard planted with tall Eucalyptus trees. 

The campus buildings are primarily comprised of a brick, glass and concrete palette. Modernist proportioning, flat roofs, punched windows and the consistent use of peach colored brick have tied the campus together over the course of decades of development with a vernacular that gives CSULB its own strong physical identity. The dramatic exception is the blue Walter Pyramid. The arena provides a singular stark contrast on campus that serves as an icon for the university. Further exceptions to the material palette and massing would serve only to dilute the “campus in a park” academic vernacular.

In 1965, CSCLB hosted the first International Sculpture Symposium to be held in the United States and the first at a college or university. Six sculptors from around the world and two from the United States created many of the monumental sculptures seen today on the campus. The event received national media attention from newspapers around the country including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Art in America and a six-page color spread in Fortune Magazine. A number of those exterior public art installations remain throughout the campus.