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July 9, 2020
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City of Orange Approves Latest Developments at Chapman University


Chapman University’s latest development project has been approved by the City of Orange. The project includes a new 402-bed student apartment building for upperclassmen alongside the adaptive reuse of one of the most valuable historic resources in Old Towne Orange, the Villa Park Orchards Association Packing House.

Credit: Architecture and Imagery by Togawa Smith Martin, Inc. and AC Martin
Credit: Architecture and Imagery by Togawa Smith Martin, Inc. and AC Martin
Originally built for the Santiago Orange Growers Association in 1918, the Villa Park Orchards Association Packing House became the world’s largest exclusive shipper of oranges and shaped the development of this area of Old Towne. The City of Orange Old Towne Historic District is the largest National Register District in California. Adaptive reuse of the Packing House allows for the conversion of the historic packing room into a museum, student services center, or classrooms/offices for the University.

KTGY Architecture + Planning oversaw the development to ensure project consistency with KTGY prepared Specific Plan Design Guidelines, coordinate with the various design firms, provide design recommendations and shepherd the project through a complex approval process.

Adaptive reuse of the Packing House required extensive evaluation of the structure and collaboration with architecture firm AC Martin and Historic Resources Group’s Peyton Hall, one of the country’s premier historic preservation architects. “The front portion of the main packing room allows for classrooms, offices and the possible relocation of Chapman University’s Hilbert Museum of California Art, which is currently located near Ruby’s and the train station in Old Towne Orange,” said Ken Ryan, KTGY principal and head of the firm’s Community Planning and Urban Design Studio.

The Hilbert Museum is home to a collection of paintings from the “California Scene” movement of the 1920s through the 1970s and beyond, including paintings by Millard Sheets, a relative of Ryan’s, noted Johanna Crooker, Ryan’s Studio Director overseeing the project.

“The rear portion of the packing room is also reserved for University uses and includes the excavation of a large courtyard that will expose the basement level of the Packing Room to the sunken courtyard area. This large courtyard provides an outdoor common area for residents of the new student apartment community adjacent to the Packing House,” said Crooker.

The exterior of the building will be restored to its appearance during the period of significance by removing some later additions, restoring the original paint colors, and installing building signage that replicates the original Sunkist sign. An old Railroad Spur alignment has been brought back to life and utilized to tie the site together with materials and interpretive signage telling the rich history of the property. Landscape and hardscape designs in front of the Packing House were carefully crafted by Bennitt Design Group. Interpretive signage was designed by Hunt Design and Ruzika Design provided lighting design to showcase the Packing House.

The new student apartment building was designed by architecture firm Togawa Smith Martin. The new residential building, which is being built next to the packing house, is designed to reflect the industrial character of the packing house and surrounding neighborhood. “The new student housing building provides much-needed student housing for the University,” said Ryan. “In designing the new building, it was important to balance the demand for student housing with preserving the historic character of the site. The new building needed to be large enough to accommodate the number of beds without overwhelming the adjacent Packing House.”

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