Page 32 - College Planning & Management, November 2017
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people together but also helps bring natural light to the in- nermost classrooms and offices flanking it, giving occupants a shared sense of purpose. “It’s opening up the building and its many activities to everyone,” Leers explains. “There’s always a struggle between having enough vision and literal transparency and having enough walls to pin things on and provide acoustical separation. But there’s no ques- tion a series of closed-off rooms, however beautiful, is not how we think of interior space today. We think much more about the dy- namic of layers of space than we do enclosed rooms.”
The building’s design makes a kind of theater from having maker spaces such as wood shops and fabrication laborato- ries visible on the ground floor through glass walls. “Everybody loves to look in on them,” Leers says. Along with a ground-floor café and exhibit areas, she adds, “all of that really flows into the landscape and invites people in.”
A great space also has to sound right. Though many of the build- ing’s primary interior surfaces are hard, such as concrete floor- ing and wood ceilings, “There are absorptive fabric-wrapped panels and ceiling materials, and carpeting where needed,” Chung explains. “The main ceiling and soffits in the corridors: those are all acoustically treated with ceiling panels or with wood slats with acoustic spray that makes the ceiling plane really sound ab- sorptive. The ceiling is one of the more important planes in terms of mitigating noise.”
Unlike some projects, luxury and highly refined materials were not the goals for this build-
ing, according to Leers. “Everybody just wanted great space,” she says. “We have mostly concrete floors. Thinking of it as a rough-and-ready dynamic workspace, the finish materials are really suited to its use and to the goal of getting everyone together,” she says. The building’s wood construction and exposed structure also proffered savings on finish materials. “The structure itself is the finish, and that’s very sustainable,” says Chung. “You don’t have to spend money to cover up a concrete or a steel structure.” The firm added an accent wall to add vibrancy to the central space. “We have a big painted green wall
that lines the stair wall with a lot of daylight above,” Leers says. “Then we’ve used other accent colors. Color is there in an eco- nomic way to carry through the intention of being in nature and being vibrant.”
Embracing environmental concerns, the firm continually

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