August 22, 2017

Marshall Craft, SLAM Team on Design for Renovations to Two Connected Academic Buildings at Howard Community College

State-of-the-art flexible classrooms and interactive spaces will encourage experiential learning and collaboration amongst students and faculty

Marshall Craft Associates (MCA), in collaboration with The S/L/A/M Collaborative (SLAM) has designed the full interior renovations of the former N and ST buildings at Howard Community College. Once complete, the buildings will house general purpose flexible classrooms, student commons, a small café, study spaces, offices, and a lecture hall. Additional specialized instructional laboratories will facilitate experiential learning for a variety of academic programs, including culinary and hospitality management.

“The design vision for the project is centered around the cultivation of a “sense of community” for the building occupants (students and faculty) through the creation of a stimulating environment possessing a modern aesthetic that is consistent with recent environments created on campus”, says Lynn Cain, AIA, LEED AP, design architect.

In support of this vision, the design team sought to identify opportunities for the creation of spaces dedicated to social interaction, idea exchange, and “outside the classroom” learning experiences. These different types of spaces are intended to create student equity that, in turn, will greatly impact the goal of fostering a “sense of community.” The design also seeks to capitalize on the inherent characteristics of the adjacent programmatic relationships.

Within the ST building, the Galleria is a large two-story volume fit with soft seating that will serve as the highly social “living room.” The space serves as a primary entry point for the east side of campus and provides a nurturing environment where a series of dynamic ceiling panels will maximize access to daylighting, improve acoustics, and appropriately scale the volume. A series of warm neutral tones create a crisp backdrop against which vibrant hues, deployed in a restrained manner, will serve as wayfinding to adjacent classrooms, faculty offices, and a small café.

Two student areas flank the Galleria and serve as anterooms for classrooms and faculty offices. These moderately scaled spaces provide much needed queuing space during class changes, “break out” opportunities capable of accommodating individuals or small groups, and areas in which students and faculty can collaborate outside of the classroom.

While existing circulation routes within the buildings remain intact, they will undergo a dramatic reshaping that introduces a variety of opportunities for integrated break out, touch down, and staging functions. Upgrades to lighting, finishes, technology and furnishings will also contribute to the transformative experience. The project is scheduled to be completed by fall 2019.

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