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Design Team Descends on Campus

by Andrew Marchev, staff writerThe college hosted a pre-design workshop for the new academic building Sept. 25, open to all community members. Architects from Lord-Aeck-Sargent Architecture and Padgett & Freeman Architects, the two firms that will be designing the new building, led the workshop while campus architect Steve Farrell facilitated.

As part of the workshop the architects, also referred to as the design team, explained what the whole design process would entail, including details on the decision process and the project schedule. A big part of the event was getting input from workshop attendees, who at one point broke up into groups and discussed what features the new building should have and what it should look like. Suggestions that were agreed upon were placed on a large sheet of paper, and then placed on the walls of Canon lounge for the whole group to see. At noon, some of the architects went to Cowpie and Gladfelter to get more input for the building from students who could not attend the workshop.

During the workshop, after the papers with suggestions were placed on the walls, community members could “vote” for different suggestions by placing a round sticker or several next to a suggestion. Among some of the suggestions were a gallery for products produced by crews, a kitchen, expandable classrooms and others. Several suggestions from students centered around the idea of the building as hands on learning experience, with windows in walls of the building so that students can see processes in the building take place.

“The building itself will teach as well,” said Becky McDuffie of Lord-Aeck-Sargent.

This workshop is just the first of many occassions that architects working on the new building will be looking for input from the community. For example, starting next week the architects will be back to meet with different academic departments and crews that will be working in the new building to ask what their needs are.

Both firms are striving to have full student involvement throughout the whole process.

“Student involvement is great, and useful,” McDuffie said. “[It] provides a different perspective.”

Already, the architects are impressed by the amount students have contributed to the process.

“We don’t usually see this level of involvement at other institutions,” said Scott O’Brien of Lord-Aeck-Sargent.

The design team is also looking for input on how to make the building environmentally friendly. Reaching a LEED standard is a possibility, as members of the design team are LEED certified, but the team is looking into other possibilities as well, including the Living Building Challenge.

“The design team has begun the process of working with students, faculty, staff, and administration to determine appropriate sustainability goals for the project,” O’Brien said.

“Like” the Warren Wilson College New Academic Building facebook page to give your feedback and suggestions for the new building, and to hear from other community members.

The design process for the new building is remarkable for another reason, as it is a collaboration between two architecture firms, Lord-Aeck-Sargent and Padgett & Freeman. This is not the first time however. The two firms most recently collaborated on the design for a new building at AB Tech, with Padgett and Freeman leading the process. Here, Lord-Aeck-Sargent will take the leadership role, along with campus architect, Steve Farrell.

The new building is being constructed to replace Carson Hall after it had become infested with a mold all throughout the foundation.



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