Yesterday we interviewed for a new Student Resource Center for the University of Southern Mississippi, Gulf Coast Campus, located in Long Beach, MS. Partnering with our good friends, unabridged Architecture, we produced a design to show the aspirations we are envisioning for this project if we're fortunate to be selected.
Woven throughout this scheme is the belief that design excellence combines beauty, function, economy, and environmental performance. Our goal is to create places that work and inspire. We start from an awareness of site and climate, pay attention to energy and water use, and consider the consequences of materials choices on the health of occupants, the community, and the environment. Some call this approach ‘sustainable design.’ We believe it's just good design.
This philosophy can be summarized quite simply:
“if it doesn’t work, it’s not beautiful; if it’s not beautiful, it doesn’t work.”
The design proposal establishes a strong connection to the campus master plan and directly opens to the future North Quad.
Carefully working around the existing oak trees a new campus feature, “The Porch”, welcomes students by providing ample outdoor seatting under an expansive building canopy.
A new beacon for students, the resource center will feature multilevel program and amenities, complementing the campus life with community spaces, academic support and a new career center.
Other design features include: dining and lounge areas, an open auditorium and lecture hall, and the new “Eagle’s Eyrie” - a roof deck amenity overlooking south to the campus and the gulf.
Beyond the architecture, though, we are especially enthused about the process by which we'd be able to engage with the community.
Engagement is the most important part of our process. We enjoy the process of engaging the entire community of users to enrich the building design. We's be using a variety of methods, including workshops with students, surveys of faculty, and events with alumni and business leaders, to learn what is important to diverse groups in order to respond to the rising needs. Ultimately the goal is to give participants an unbreakable connection with this place and this building.
We're having fun collaborating with our partners, friends and former colleagues - Allison & John Anderson. Our week-long charette produced several potential designs. To help visualize them, we built a physical model to give our selection committee a sense of space as it relates to the campus (notice the 3D printed trees!). What are your thoughts? Please share yours in the comment section below...