California State University, Long Beach | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Sarah Gilbert

California State University, Long Beach

The campus of California State University, Long Beach is a remarkable place, with spare rectangular buildings nestled into an open, green landscape marked by broad walkways, prominent sculptures, and allees of ficus, peach, and eucalyptus trees.

Its buildings were designed by multiple architectural firms, but its master plan came from the office of Long Beach architects Killingsworth, Brady and Smith. Edward Killingsworth served as the master plan architect for over forty years, shaping the campus with an overall clarity and logic that resulted in a highly navigable, extremely pleasant place. His vision was laid out in the 1962 master plan, which continues to guide campus development.

It is a pedestrian-oriented campus; cars are relegated away from the academic core, and walkways are carefully sited to facilitate pedestrian use. Landscape architect Ed Lovell worked with Killingsworth to create CSU Long Beach's park-like feel and integrate the buildings into a soft but controlled landscape.

The buildings, which are low-scale and Mid-Century Modern and New Formalist in style, are built mostly of brick, concrete, and glass.

They seem to serve the landscape rather than being served by it, meaning the campus truly feels like a whole rather than a collection of structures held together by bits of grass. It is student-friendly on every level, which was Killingsworth's first and only goal.

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