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San Francisco, CA
2011 – present


In the late 1990’s, Golden Gate University began the process of establishing a multi-year institutional master plan. Having completed the first phases, MKThink was brought on in 2011 to realign the master planning effort to the university’s current needs and goals. The analysis included an investigation of potential program and space deficiencies, opportunities, and infrastructure concerns.


MKThink began with an extensive data collection of facility, user, and room scheduling information. This dataset served as the baseline for a rigorous facility and programmatic needs analysis. Additional data was gathered by conducting on-site investigations, running several university-wide surveys, and holding weekly discussions with a selected group of staff and faculty. With a detailed understanding of the existing conditions of Golden Gate University, both building and program inefficiencies and opportunities emerged. In particular, MKThink discovered:

– There was a sizeable surplus of classroom space with respect to the scheduling and enrollment data.
– Students lacked sufficient informal and group study areas.
– Book storage in the University Library took up valuable space that could be utilized as study areas.
– Office space was inefficiently organized, and broken into inflexible departmental silos.
– There was a strong desire to create a space for adjunct faculty.
– The university lacked a central gathering space or hub for students that could strengthen campus identity.


Based on these findings, MKThink developed strategies that focused on each particular need. The classroom inventory was adjusted and rightsized according to the course scheduling, enrollment data, and changing educational pedagogies. Conceptual programs which detailed adjacencies for faculty and staff were developed, and office space standards were updated. More study spaces for students were created, as well as meeting rooms for staff and faculty. A central quad and student hub was designed within the existing building to promote school identity, and a new entrance into the university’s main building was introduced in order to strengthen campus connectivity.

For the university, two proposed plans were developed: an optimized plan, and an applied one. The first focused on program alone, in terms of needs, goals, and ideal adjacencies. Unrestricted by building constraints, this program served as an ideal configuration of Golden Gate University, and would prove extremely valuable if the university were to relocate in the future. The applied plan was a refined version of the first, a best-fit scenario contained within the existing facilities envelope that acknowledges the request to keep costs at a minimum.

MKThink has been asked to implement the applied plan, and construction of the first phase is scheduled to begin the summer of 2013.