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image Project: El Centro Student and Technology Center

El Centro Student and Technology Center

Design Patterns

Welcoming Entry: The front entrance renovation served dual purposes: creating an aesthetically-pleasing image/identity for the campus, and framing the circulation hub of three existing buildings from a functional standpoint. As an architectural design solution, the new facade references the historic district of downtown, while blending the architectural proportions and detailing, as well as maintaining a strong and vital connection to its urban context/community.

Science Labs, Art Labs, and Life Skills Areas: A key and vital component of the college's curriculum is its emphasis on the arts and humanities, both natural and social sciences, cultivating an environment for careers based on talents and skills. Renovation of the art studios further expanded cirriculum opportunities. The gallery seeks to showcase local, regional and national artists working in a variety of media as well as host exhibits traveling nationally. Exhibitions enhance the education and experience of the students, faculty, staff and community at large. Lectures, workshops, and other events accompany exhibits to engage the public in the understanding of art. In addition, the student commons area includes a cyber cafe --- a full service kitchen and snack bar which features the creations of culinary arts students, patronized by students and faculty alike. This feature encourages students to meet their fullest creative potential by showcasing their talents in food and hospitality to the collegiate body.

Art, Music, Performance: Offering arts, humanities and sciences are key anchors to the curriculum, by which the institution mirrors the necessity for students to learn analytical, writing and quantitative skills to pursue their careers and passions. Taking a step beyond academic programs centered around the arts, the college fosters a culture which values the creative talents of both students and faculty alike, by offering several modes of exhibition. Art display and events include: - College Gallery: local, regional and national artists and curators are on exhibition for a month timeframe - Fine Student Art: a competition which grants awards to students in design, drawing, painting, digital media, and other artwork varieties - Diverse Thoughts & Hybrid Processes Display: an exhibition featuring the Fine Art Department faculty, design of mixed media, cermics, metalworks, and art installations - Culinary Arts: Food and Hospitality Institute, part of the college, prepares a complete four-course meal for the fine dining restaurant within the college.

Casual Eating Areas: The success of the project with the student body and faculty is that while the furnishings were selected to maintain the "flexibility" goal, a combination of soft and more formal table/chair clusters provide comfortable seating conducive to community interaction - a place to share experiences and cultures.

Dispersed Technology: In addition to the technology/computer labs and administrative spaces providing access to technology, technology is dispersed throughout the students' "commons" area, allowing access to informal "learning" and opportunities for discovery.

Indoor-Outdoor Connection: The green space and seating area, which are an extension of the student "commons" area, not only provide access and connectedness to the city, but they also allow for a powerful indoor/outdoor connection.

Furniture: Soft Seating: Ergonomic seating was a key feature of the technology center renovation, providing a safe and comfortable learning environment to replicate the workplace. This element was a key design solution to the extended time intervals for IT classes offered at the college, and consequently provided a comfortable space for both "community" time and learning.

Watering Hole Space: Student commons - the heart of the campus - provides, encourages, and fosters social interaction, collaboration, and cultural awareness.

Cave Space: The rotunda space on the second floor allows an opportunity for students to seek out an area where they are not required to interact. Daylight infuses the space, and the monumental scale of the space coupled with views of important city landmarks provides ample space conducive to self-reflection while still engaged in the educational environment.

Daylight and Solar Energy: A key design element is the connection and relationship of indoor/outdoor spaces. The commons area encompasses an outdoor seating and green space connecting and anchoring the addition to the adjacent public sidewalk.

Sustainable Elements and Building as 3-D Text: The usage of brick and cast stone as key design elements added a sustainable component to the building - providing a design solution that met the District's goals for the building's long-term continued use. Brick's ability to improve energy efficiency and conservation translates into enhanced facility and financial cost savings for the District. This fundamental attribute gives new meaning to high performance. Brick was also selected due to its timeless beauty, permanence and unlimited design potential.

Connected to the Community: The location of the school is key to its value in the community. The campus is located in the central business district, making it easily accessible to all major highways and public transportation. The local area transit system offers free transportation to students enrolled in the college. The programs offered foster economic progress for the neighboring communities through economic and workforce development, co-op and continuing education programs, technical courses, and job placement services. In addition, the vision of the college is to encourage life-long learning and development of its students and faculty. The renovation and expansion of the school exemplifies the district's commitment to the community to provide a cutting-edge, technologically advanced, and safe urban educational center where core values such as diversity, connectedness, continuous improvement, life long learning, and service are upheld.

Recognized Value Award 2007



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