Cal Poly Architecture Graveyard – San Luis Obispo, California - Atlas Obscura

Cal Poly Architecture Graveyard

A deserted hodgepodge of experimental structures designed by nearby university students. 

151
576

In the hills above California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, there’s a nine-acre collection of eclectic, experimental structures. It looks like an abandoned mishmash of unconventional architecture.

The site is an “outdoor experimental construction laboratory” for the university students that has been dubbed the “architectural graveyard.” 

The structures were all built by architectural, engineering, and design students over the last several decades. They range from sculptures to semi-houses, but most of the structures fall somewhere in between.

The canyon is also home to the annual Design Village, which invites students to design and build temporary structures centered around a set theme. Participants then spend the weekend sleeping in their oddball abodes. 

Sadly, the collection has fallen into a bit of disrepair. Student caretakers no longer live on the site. As a result of their absence, vandals have tagged some of the structures, and others have had their windows boarded up.

Know Before You Go

Park on campus near Poly Canyon Road. On weekdays you will have to buy a parking permit for $5, on weekends free parking can be found. Walk the dirt Poly Canyon road for about a mile, until you see the stone arch to your left.

Atlas Obscura Trips

City of Secrets: Underground in Los Angeles

On this an insider’s journey into the City of Angeles, we'll discover the murals and art of the famous Arts district with a resident artist, clink glasses at an underground speakeasy, and hike through hidden ruins with a suspicious past, all in pursuit of the less angelic side of the City of Angels.