College of San Mateo

Warnecke, John Carl
San Mateo
Building Type:
1700 West Hillsdale Blvd., San Mateo, California
Current Name:
College of San Mateo
Current Use:
Junior College
Current Condition:
Some buildings good; some fair; others to be demolished and replaced
Not Listed
John Carl Warnecke commenced work on the plans for the College of San Mateo in 1957, drawing inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Florida Southern College (1936). Warnecke’s goal was to create a progressive and dignified design for the junior college campus, more like a university and less like a secondary school. The groundbreaking ceremony for the College of San Mateo, also known as “College Heights,” occurred in October of 1960. The campus opened three years later, in the fall of 1963.

The College Heights campus originally consisted of 27 buildings, all thoroughly modern in their design. Buildings were constructed using a combination of concrete, glass, and steel – the majority logically grouped together and connected by covered walkways. The campus’ visual centerpiece was, and continues to be, its library. Located in the middle of the campus, the library stands alone, distinguished by its pierced masonry screens. A large rectangular reflecting pool is positioned between the library and Fine Arts Center.



DOCOMOMO US/Northern California

P.O. Box 29226
San Francisco, CA 94129-0226


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