Case Study

Mesa College Commons Building

Case Study:
Mesa College Commons Building

Designed to be anything but common. The new Mesa College Commons Building wows from the inside out.


Project Description

The new Commons Building at Mesa College in San Diego earned a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification and contains a number of sustainable features – including ceramic tile.

The new 73,000 square foot $44.3 million dollar Commons Building project serves as a student hub and gateway to the Mesa College campus. The structure houses two cafeterias, a campus bookstore, convenience store, coffee café, culinary arts management labs and classrooms, a student-run M Fusion Dining Café, faculty and student lounge spaces, conference rooms, and a campus stockroom with mail and printing services. 


Why Tile®?

Why black logo

To succeed with this challenging LEED Silver project, the tile contractors had to overcome soaring heights, changes in orders, and weather interruptions in order to complete the project on schedule. 

A high percentage of the tile was set on walls located outdoors. However, there was no scaffolding available to facilitate tiling towers reaching 52 feet high. Instead, two fearless installers applied the membrane, set the tile, and grouted the tile from a small platform on a 60-foot boom lift. Using the boom complicated the tile setting process and created a bottleneck, which was solved by a carefully planned assembly line of product and tile. 

A change in specifications to a tile made with mostly recycled material caused a temporary setback but the lighter tile allowed for an easier installation. Sleek silver and black plank tiles were set vertically throughout the facility to emphasize the solar chimney towers and integrate the paver layout. The highly textured planks were installed with a one-third offset and using an 80% black to 20% gray pattern that gave creative interest to what might have been large boring surface areas. 

The extensive tiled areas included the exteriors and solar chimneys, the lobby and meeting room walls, and the restrooms and locker rooms. Even the pizza oven is tiled on this sizzling and award-winning project!

An NTCA 5-star Contractor was engaged to complete the project, which won NTCA’s Commercial Project of the Year in 2018.


Project Details

Installation Type:

San Diego, CA

SGPA Architecture & Planning, San Diego, CA

Balfour Beatty Construction, San Diego, CA

Tile Contractor:
Christian Brothers Flooring, Lakeside, CA

Brad Anderson – Architectural Photography Inc.

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