The administration of Southwestern College in Chula Vista, Calif., should take a bow for the college’s new awe-inspiring Performing Arts Center.  With the design plan by Tucker Sadler Architects, San Diego, they took a leap to fashion a space that encourages the development of students’ talents while connecting to the community. This was done with Mayan influences, including a giant sun glyph and soaring building geometries. Dri-Design wall panels wrap portions of the building’s curtainwall, and Dri-Design Perforated Imaging panels were used to create the sun glyph. 

Tucker Sadler Architects chose the Mayan design to honor the culture of the community and the school’s students. It builds off the design of the college’s Wellness & Aquatic Center that also features Dri-Design’s Perforated Imaging Panels and standard Dri-Design Wall Panels. The aquatic center has a hieroglyph design perforated in the panels with a repetitive pattern that illustrates "first," "health" and "cool." 

“Southwestern College asked us to create a culturally inviting design,” says Gregory A. Mueller,

CEO and Principal Designer with Tucker Sadler Architects. “We pulled from that concept by incorporating Mayan inspirations reflected in the metal wall panel design.”

California Sheet Metal, El Cajon, Calif., installed 14,300 square feet of Painted Aluminum Dri-Design wall panels and Dri-Design Perforated Imaging panels. The Dri-Design wall panels wrap from the front entrance, with a segmented radius design, to the back of the building. The perforated panels were used to create three 60-foot-tall canted walls with a perforated Mayan sun design.

Dri-Design Perforated Imaging utilizes advanced computer-based manufacturing to create complex images using perforations. By varying the size, location and density of the perforations, areas of light, dark and shades in between are created to form a custom image.

This installation took meticulous planning to ensure such a large-scale design element was executed properly. The eight-year-long planning and design process ensured the students and community had a professional-level space. The center has dance studios, two theaters (one that seats 500 and another with a 150-person capacity), classrooms, tech shops, and state-of-the-art sound and lighting equipment. 

“The students may not be on Broadway, but they certainly should feel like it with the new Performing Arts Center,” says Tyler Fowler, National Sales Director at Dri-Design. “The vivid exterior sets the tone for the dramatic performances and remarkably represents the culture of Chula Vista.”

The project is LEED Silver certified and won the 2023 Gold Nugget Award of Merit Best Educational Project.

For more information about the Dri-Design® Wall Panel System, visit