Southern Crescent Technical College: Industrial and Technology Building

The second building constructed on SCTC’s Henry Campus, the I&T building provides instruction and laboratory spaces for Advanced Manufacturing, Allied Health (Nursing, Nursing Assistant, Sim Lab, Phlebotomy, MRI/Cardio Labs), Automotive Technology (Auto Repair, Collision Repair, Paint Shop), Adult Education, General Classrooms, Computer Labs, a Student Success Center, and a Faculty Suite. The design revolves around three key concepts: to create campus spaces optimized to meet the unique needs of Technical College Students; to model ‘real-world’ work environments in instruction spaces; and to configure the spaces to create specific identities for each program area while also encouraging cross-disciplinary interaction.

Design Challenge

The biggest design challenge is the diversity inherent in the program, which complicates the college’s desire for a unified architectural expression. The program implied two very different spatial typologies: a single-story, long-span, high-bay configuration for the Automotive Technology programs; and a multi-story, double-loaded corridor, cellular organization for the other program areas. This fundamental challenge informed nearly every aspect of the design, including: • Circulation Spine: the design is unified by north-south spine circulation spanning the entire footprint of the building, with ‘industrial’ programs to the west and ‘academic’ programs to the east. Along this spine, wall treatments, ceiling elements, and color are used to signify gateways to each program area. This spine unifies the exterior design as well, expressed a white metal-clad bar extending the length of the building. • Transparency: Interior glazing along the spine provides views between program areas, allowing students to observe activities in other disciplines. This is most evident in the main lobby, where the automotive lab is dramatically framed by a two-story monolithic glass vitrine aligned with the front door, reflecting college’s desire to dignify the industrial program areas that are often hidden from view. • East-West Secondary circulation: The academic areas are organized into east-west-oriented wings, and likewise the automotive labs are configured with the drive lanes perpendicular to the spine. The nodes created by the intersecting circulation zones are animated with color and form to define gateways to the various program areas, giving each a distinct identity, and simultaneously providing opportunities for windows as described above.

Physical Context

While the college’s masterplan suggested a narrow building with a north-south orientation, the design has been carefully configured to position instructional spaces to have more advantageous solar orientations. Also, an existing wetland with steep grades to the north of the project site limited the extent to which the building could extend northward. • ‘Radiator’ form: the academic areas of the building are organized into wings perpendicular to the primary building spine, creating alternating building volumes and courtyard spaces similar to the folded lobes of a radiator. This results in most classrooms having south- or north-facing glazed walls for optimal daylighting. Spaces with southern exposures also feature external horizontal sunshades to reduce solar gain and glare. All classrooms have programmable lighting controls to take advantage of natural daylight. • Terraced Building: The building responds to the grade by having a partial terrace level below the main building at the north end of the site. In addition to minimizing cut/fill, this allows the building to minimally impact the wetlands to the north and provides spectacular and peaceful woodland/wetland views for the spaces at this level, introducing a biophilic experience that research has proven to be beneficial in learning environments. • Performance Data: While the owner elected not to seek LEED certification, the passive design strategies employed have contributed to building performance and energy efficiency. The performance analysis by cove.tool indicates a whole building EUI of 50.77 (vs baseline value of 108.95), 22% energy improvement per LEED v4, 48% water use reduction per LEED v4.