This 80something-year-old institution is one of the world’s leading schools for product, graphic and transportation design, as well as fine art, advertising and illustration. It’s most famed for its automotive program, students of which have gone on to design such cars as the PT Cruiser and the Volkswagen Bug. But Art Center grads are responsible for much more than cars: They’ve dreamed up everything from R2-D2 in Star Wars to Frank Sinatra album covers to Oakley’s aerodynamic Zeros sunglasses. Alums say they’ve never worked harder in their lives—it’s a challenging school that pushes students to both develop strong technical skills and think as far outside the box as possible.
Although originally based in L.A, Art Center moved to a Linda Vista hillside in 1976, adding its South Campus (in the former Caltech Wind Tunnel building on South Raymond) in 2004. Some 1,500 students travel between the two campuses; the South Campus also offers another 1,500 people extracurricular education, from night classes for design professionals to a thriving and exciting Saturday High program. A few years ago it had grand plans for expansion and construction, all of which seems indefinitely shelved for financial reasons, but its South Campus has brought life to South Raymond, and it was involved in the renovation of South Arroyo Parkway.
Both campuses are well worth visiting; make sure to check out the student galleries and the wonderful Williamson Gallery at the Hillside Campus and the public exhibition in the Wind Tunnel.
Art Center College of Design
Hillside Campus: 1700 Lida St., Pasadena, 626.396.2200
South Campus: 950 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, 626.396.2319