A Collaboration with Architecture Research Office—the project goal was to develop an integrated design that serves as a learning tool for the students, a national symbol for the College, and a sustainable landmark for the University. The design concept was a well-balanced architecture – one that bridged the University to a growing downtown core; mediated between institutional and residential scale; weighed value/economy to a forward-looking architecture; and proposed sustainability strategies from an innovative yet pragmatic approach.
Accessed through a large plaza that links the CAED to the campus, the East entry would serve as the front door to the college with a spacious lobby, student/faculty gathering areas and connections directly to the gallery, auditorium, studios, and offices. The west entry would link the CAED to the downtown by way of the Esplanade and provides direct access to the café, library, and classrooms. The south entry would serve those arriving by vehicle and connects to the fabrication yard, student commons, woodshop, and lighting labs.
A compact triangular building form was chosen that consists of narrow wings wrapping a light filled central space, which optimize the ratio of building volume to envelope while maximizing day-lighting. The building organization, using a carefully tested studio module as its basis, was conceived as continuous ribbon from entry to roof. Uninterrupted movement is achieved through a ramp and stair network inspired by the topography of the site and the advancement of students from entry to graduate level. The architectural systems are employed as an active lab; structural, mechanical systems and materials are exposed to view and expressive of their purpose. Every space in the building, from the mechanical equipment spaces on the lower level to the green roof with photovoltaic arrays above, is conceived as a classroom.
The project could achieve a LEED Platinum Rating by adopting the right mix of sustainable strategies like capturing on-site rainwater, wrapping the building in a high-efficiency skin, and engineering a hybrid mechanical system. The rain-screen building envelope was composed of warm-grey panels of ultra-high performance concrete with a regular model that reduces in width to vary the transparency, rotates to reduce harsh sun angles, and dissipates in key areas to open up views. The result is well-balanced architecture that expresses a strong relationship to its context and the dynamic activities within.