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4 New Education Designs from Around the Country

Sept. 4, 2018

As schools start up again, i+s shares some of the exciting interior updates at facilities in each corner of the nation.

Students were enjoying the dog days of summer just a short week or so ago, but school is now in session – and with a new semester comes the reveal of some exciting renovations and modern additions. From the oceans of the West Coast to the hot and humid cities of the South, designers have been hard at work creating new interiors that reflect the needs and wants of modern day students, while incorporating what each school values most and wants to reflect in its new space.

The four stories below display the vast variety of educational facilities that can be found across the country and what each may need, but they also reveal the similarities of what drives each institution: the overall health and wellbeing of students and staff.

Georgia Tech’s Wellness Oasis

West Village at Georgia Tech is the university’s latest success in its quest to develop buildings that support the mental, physical and social health of the community. Originally situated in a residential area of campus that lacked a gathering spot available to all residents and visitors, it now draws both students and the public to the campus’s previously underutilized west portion.

The 50,000-square-foot facility features interiors designed by Atlanta-based Cooper Carry, including large alfresco terraces throughout the three-level space, spectacular views of the Atlanta skyline, a variety of seating types and locations and a centrally located stairway that has drastically minimized elevator use, creating an additional wellness aspect for the new hybrid building.

New Process Tech Center for One Texas College

Perkins+Will recently designed a new and dynamic Process Technology Center for Lone Star College in Houston, Texas. Outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment, the new center was cleverly designed to marry an industrial palette with a casual, social feel that supports students majoring in process technology. Some highlights include:

  • Friendly wayfinding: A scheme of perforated metal and raw, unfinished wood is coupled with accents of blue and yellow for wayfinding, in addition to creating an energetic, relaxed environment for both students and professors to connect and learn.
  • Encouraged movement: Numerous architectural touchpoints for spontaneous interaction encourage engagement throughout the campus.
  • Branded elements: The inclusion of elements inspired by the industry gives students a sense of ownership and identity in the new facility. For example, a perforated metal screen printed with a production facility lines the wall by a sleek staircase that visitors climb to reach the classrooms and chemistry labs on the second floor.
  • Sustainably driven: The building follows Lone Star’s energy policy, using only LED lighting and integrating natural light throughout.

A New Chapel on the Pacific Coast

A sculptural prayer chapel has just debuted on the scenic Pacific coast campus of Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. Designed by architect Gordon R. Carrier, FAIA, the building replaces the university's 50-year-old chapel, offering a new and peaceful setting for prayer and spiritual reflection.

The chapel is filled with natural light and houses three personal prayer niches, each separated with wood baffles for privacy with a 12-foot-tall cross placed midspace as a focal point. "The power of three" referenced throughout the design alludes to the Holy Trinity, according to Carrier. A light filigree of mixed woods overhead – a gesture evoking Christ’s spirit and his crown of thorns – also acts as a gentle filter for natural daylight.

The prominently sited structure reflects the chapel’s role as a symbol of university values and also calls out the significant role that prayer plays for this academic community.

Plans for New High School Move Forward

Plans are moving forward for a new state-of-the-art high school focused on sustainability, flexibility and collaboration in Falls Church, Virginia, a community less than 10 miles from Washington, D.C. The school board recently unanimously selected the design-build team of Gilbane, Stantec and Quinn Evans Architects (QEA) for the new $108 million George Mason High School. Planned for LEED Gold certification and Net Zero Energy ready, the design of the new high school embraces the concept of adaptability.

The proposed interiors are designed with an eye toward tomorrow with flexible floorplans that provide security, efficiency and adaptability to support programs and educational needs as they evolve. Students and teachers are offered a variety of spaces – informed by the priorities of flexibility, visual transparency and natural daylighting – to create an academic setting that encourages creative thought, community building and individual growth.

Scholarly Bonus: Opportunities to Share

Cooper Union Scholarship

Architect Anik Pearson, AIA, has announced the latest round of fundraising for a new scholarship initiative developed in conjunction with her alma mater, The Cooper Union. Every donation awarded to the Sue Ferguson Gussow Scholarship fund in 2018 will be matched up to $4 million by Cooper Union. This scholarship is the latest in a long line of efforts by Anik Pearson and her firm, Anik Pearson Architect, aimed at supporting emerging architects, both in the educational sphere and in professional practice. Other initiatives include a new mentoring program for emerging women practitioners, which will be launched this year.

Decaso Scholarship

Decaso, the online home for the world’s top modernism and antique dealers, recently announced a scholarship award for the 2019 academic year, the Decaso Future Quest Scholarship. Designed to support students from diverse backgrounds and students who are determined to further their education, the scholarship will include an award up to $2,500 to a very deserving student. Applications will be accepted until Jan. 1, 2019.

About the Author

Adrian Schley | Associate Editor

Adrian Schley is an Associate Editor for i+s, where she has been covering the commercial interior design industry since 2018. Her work can also be found in BUILDINGS and Meetings Today. 

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