North Carolina A&T State University New Student Center

North Carolina A&T State University- New Student Center

Firm: Vines Architecture (visit website)

Location: Greensboro, NC
100 Word Description: This new 180,000 sf Student Center, situated at the heart of the University Campus,  will provide a new student life complex with a comprehensive array of campus life services that will greatly enhance the dynamic and diverse school environment. The facility will be the “central hub” of the campus, an energizing place to serve as the students’  living room.  The diverse, hybrid program includes, a range student lounge, study and meeting spaces, 6 food venues, convenience store, student bookstore,  post office, a new formal ballroom overlooking the main green, several large multipurpose rooms and a range of student organization suites and administration support services.
Architect’s Statement: Architecturally, the constituent architectural components, which are rooted in the “idea’ of the program,  have been defined at the conceptual level as: 1. The “LANDSCAPE’ 2. “PLATES’ 3. “ELEVATED VOLUMES’ 4. The “THREAD’ 5. The “VEIL’1 – LANDSCAPE Based on the idea of the stitching of the two campus greens, the notion of spatial overlap and physical intertwining of building and landscape is a key architectural driver of the project. Conceptually, the ground plane “zone’, which also includes the atrium and the two plazas, is thought of as the social core of the entire facility. The ground plane is a singular element that weaves though the building, reconciles the 12′ grade change over the site, and most importantly, connects the two significant public plazas that terminate each of the greens. The more cellular and enclosed programmatic pieces are “lifted’ to create a highly transparent base in this zone, allowing the space of the plazas to penetrate the building and visually connect the atrium to the landscape. In effect, the plazas, which “shape’ and are “shaped by’ the building, become spatial extensions of the interior space and vice versa. Reinforced by existing patterns of campus circulation and activated by diverse array of seating types to accommodating of a range of group sizes, this “landscape’ element is envisioned as a key collective space of the program – it is at once, “place’ and “path’, interior and exterior. 2 “PLATES/ TRAYS The trays, defined by a 30′ grid arrayed E-W, serve as the overarching framework or scaffolding for the programmatic elements of the project. Lifted above the landscape to the second and third levels, these elements bridge over the landscape ground plane at the mid-zone to define the entry and turn to present a face to both the north and south greens. It deflects subtly at each green terminus and wraps two of the edges of the main plaza space. 3 – ELEVATED VOLUMES Within the otherwise loosely defined programmatic zones, there are several programmatic spaces that require both spatial and acoustical separation and also a more symbolic, formal legibility. These spaces, which include the ballroom, quiet study rooms, the student organizations and the marketplace dining, are elevated, and have clear formal identity. The Ballroom, one of the key formal, collective spaces within in the program, serves as a terminus of the Aggie Village Green. Opaque on the east and west sides, it frames a view of the Aggie Village Green and the future bellower; it is marked by an opened air, covered terrace at the south that reads as an extension of the interior space of the ballroom. The Dining Hall another key collective program component, serves a similar role at the North Green. The meeting rooms, clad in fiber cement shell and lined with wood, cantilever over the plaza near the main entry and serve as a symbolic reminder of the importance of academic pursuits within the Center. Elevated to the third level for privacy, the Student Organizations are defined as a singular element with significant visibility from the key public spaces of the building and the North Plaza and Green. 4 – THREAD The vertical circulation and horizontal tray circulation spaces are defined as a singular element that weaves through the public spaces of the facility and stitches together, both vertically and horizontally, all of the otherwise disparate elements of the program. In addition to its role as the primary circulation and way finding element within the Center, it also contains a range of informal gathering spaces on the horizontal and the sloping (stair/ramp) surfaces. More than simply a circulation element, it is envisioned as a key social and programmatic component of the project, as well as a symbol of the importance of the unification of individual program elements, in both section and in plan. 5 – VEIL The veil is envisioned as an architectural device which loosely envelops the entire facility to define the Center as a singular entity, and similar to the Thread, unifies the diverse range of spaces and elements of this hybridized program. Composed of perforated metal and steel, it is envisioned as a delicate and lightweight element that is elevated above the landscape, to allow the space and materials of the landscape to “slide’ underneath. During the day this permeable scrim serves as a sunscreen on the very long south elevation and at night will emit a soft glow of light and will allow a “reading’ of the programmatic spaces behind. Bracketed in section by the more heavy and earthen materials of the landscape below this more forward looking architecturally element, is seen as a subtle representation of the spirit of progress and the continuing and historic importance of Technology in the development of NCA&T State University. Symbolically these two components- the Landscape and the Veil- “bracket’ and unify all of the activities of the Student Center to define a singular, iconic entity- reflecting the core values outlined by the university and the design team in advance
Type of Construction: Steel frame construction W/ composite metal deck, CIP foundation, slab on grade. Aluminum Curtain wall: low-iron clear glass and low iron fritted glassPerforated Aluminum panels, 1/8†over both steel substructure and standard insulated metal panelStandard Integral color, fiber cement panelsPhenolic Wood Veneer PanelsDark Gray Endicott BrickINTERIOR:Terrazzo and Polished concrete floorsRift Cut White Oak Veneer PanelsReclaimed Solid Wood Perforated GFG ceiling panels at AtriumPerforated Metal Scrim as skylight diffuserPainted Perforated Metal Plate over steel frame+ Colored Terrazzo at Monumental StairsLacquered Wall PanelsGypsum / Metal StudsCarpet Tile
Photography: Vines Architecture