General Education Building 1 and Student Services

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Wake Technical Community College

Wendell, North Carolina

110,000 sq ft

The General Education Building (GEB) at the new 106-acre academic campus will provide core general classroom and student services for an underserved body of students whose educational needs are currently not being met. The building will serve as the gateway to campus, and the warm and welcoming design provides an accessible and inclusive experience for students. It is designed to create an inclusive platform that caters to all types of students and learning styles. The GEB contains amenities that will encourage students to remain on campus, creating a vibrant sense of community and a strong venue for intentional student engagement, a sense of place, and instilling a feeling of identity and pride.

A monumental stair and a multi-story green wall in the main lobby uses the evidence-based biophilic design strategy to improve the cognitive and emotional health of its occupants and serves as one more means of creating an environment where students will linger and connect. The welcoming monumental stair, in concert with transparent stair towers that flank the campus green, encourages their use over the elevators, promoting the physical well-being of students and faculty. Understanding that students benefit greatly from spending more time on campus, emphasis was placed on daylighting in the collaborative/social spaces and circulation zones. Providing places to rest and recharge with built-in seating in circulation zones provides a critical component of the informal learning landscape that students need to thrive.

A double-height, transparent student commons responds to the curved edge of the promenade and overlooks the activity in the center of campus. Circulation is organized around the perimeter of the building, providing access to daylight and views for students as they study and linger between focused time in the classroom. It is designed for student success and promotes wellness as a healthy destination.

Sustainability strategies such as solar panels, sun shading devices, energy-efficient building systems, and a high-performance envelope are an integral part of the design of the building and contribute to the campus’ sustainability goals and the project-specific goal of achieving Green Globes Certification. Occupied green roofs provide a means to support goals around rainwater harvesting and stormwater strategies, while preference for local materials both reduce the overall embodied carbon and support local industries. Maximizing the quantity and visibility of photo-voltaic panels on the roof makes the GEB a physical reminder of its commitment to the environment while reducing its annual average carbon emissions by 33% over the ASHRAE 90.1-2013 baseline design.

For approximately 60 years, Wake Tech Community College has served Wake County as a trusted partner in the community, providing access to high-quality education and training opportunities. The GEB will continue this long-held tradition and advance Wake Tech Community College’s mission to be a good steward to its place, neighbors, and future generations, providing important connections to programs, new technologies, and workforce training while remaining financially viable with a commitment to affordability.

Disciplines

Architecture, Interior Design, Planning