Project Description

Golden Gate University

How can an urban university create a more dynamic campus experience?

Golden Gate University engaged MKThink to spearhead its “One University” campaign, a master planning initiative to unify and modernize the campus and promote interdisciplinary study.

MKThink kicked off with an in-depth facilities assessment that inventoried space, measured utilization and occupancy, evaluated room configurations and adjacencies, analyzed scheduling, and tracked movement patterns. The project team conducted school-wide interviews to solicit input from students, faculty, and staff.

Insights from the assessment drove the complete reconfiguration of the campus and consolidation into a single building at 536 Mission. The West Wing was established as the academic center. The first floors feature the newly created Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence and the unified Business and Law School Library—the first of its kind in the nation.

These resources work in concert to define a new role for the library in the digital age, one that emphasizes information products over information literary. The library offers students multipurpose spaces, equipped with mobile furniture, writeable walls, and monitors, configurable for collaboration or individual study.

The West Wing’s upper floors were renovated to create an inventory of classrooms, lecture halls, and specialized courtrooms that align with class enrollments and pedagogy. Balconies and inactive elevator lobbies were transformed into furnished alcoves for students to congregate, study, and socialize.

The East Wing is designated for faculty and administration functions. A new Student Hub, situated at street level, centralizes student services and the University Bookstore and Café. Faculty and staff offices, renovated to meet ideal space standards and adjacencies, occupy the upper floors.

Campus consolidation increased the density of activity, strengthening cultural cohesion and student and faculty interaction. The library has seen a 1000% spike in use. The street-level location of the Library and Student Hub generates activity that heightens GGU’s neighborhood presence. The more efficient layout freed up 45,522 SF, enabling the university to vacate its second building, which now generates $1.25 million in annual lease income.

Project name

One University Initiative


Visioning, Analytic Assessment,
Master Planning, Strategic Guidance,
Programming, Change Management,
Conceptual Design, Architectural Design,
Interior Finishes & Furniture,
Construction Administration,
Post Occupancy Evaluation


San Francisco, CA


2012 – 2015


2012: Campus Master Planning / Needs Assessment

2013-2015: Architectural Alignment to Master Plan

2014-2015: Campus Unification


271,826 SF


Golden Gate University