Established in 1955, this undergraduate campus in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains was constructed on agricultural land formerly occupied by citrus groves. In 1956 the Claremont College Consortium provided a linear sixteen-acre plot of rocky land north of Scripps College with the understanding that views of the mountains and a grove of liquidambar trees be preserved. Architects Edward Durell Stone and Earl Heitschmidt and the landscape architecture firm Cornell, Bridgers and Troller were commissioned to design the master plan. Though limited funding prevented extensive landscape improvements, faculty and students cleared rock, leveled land, and planted trees to beautify the campus.
Preserving native live oaks and sycamores, Cornell designed the central axis known as the Great Mall and the cross-axial Liquidambar Mall. From 1960 to 1970 landscape architect Thomas Church served as a consultant to Cornell, Bridgers and Troller. Cornell’s design for Platt Boulevard established the southern border of the campus, which was then surrounded by a naturalistic landscape. The centrally located, 2000-foot-long Great Mall is the unifying element of the campus, anchored on the west by the sunken Hixon Court with its geometric pool and Venus sculpture by Giovanni Bologna. Oriented west to east, the level, open axis is flanked by symmetrically aligned low, buff-colored, U-shaped buildings, each with its own courtyard open to the Mall. Fronted by arcaded porticoes, the repetition of buildings is reinforced by walkways, seating areas, and specimen trees. Over the years, the original sixteen-acre core has expanded to 33 acres, with parking relegated to its periphery and residential dorms to the east.