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Study in Green by Charles Rosenblum

project

Stuckeman Family Building for the School of Architecture

and Landscape Architecture, Pennsylvania State University client

Pennsylvania State University

architect

Overland Partners Architects

architect of record design team

WTW Architects

(Overland) Robert Shemwell, FAIA; Jim Shelton; Fer-

nando Ortega; (WTW) Richard De Young, AIA; Joseph Nagy, AIA contractor

Whiting-Turner Contracting Company

consultants

LaQuatra Bonci Associates (landscape); Arup

(structural & MEP schematic design, energy and daylight modeling); H.F. Lenz Company (MEP); Whitney, Bailey, Cox & Magnani (structural) photographer

Jeffrey Totaro/ESTO

(this page) The new building is more than just green in color. The metal cladding consists of more than 90 percent recycled copper. (opposite page) Third-floor critique spaces demonstrate the building’s generous daylighting and general openness.

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t e x a s

a r c h i t e c t

A well-traveled sidewalk on the Penn State campus leads past Hort Woods, the university’s last swath of untouched forest. The path turns slightly at a large water tower before continuing on axis toward Henderson Mall, the historic main quad. When under-designed parking lots abutted this minor turn, it was essentially unnoticeable. Now, though, a great green curtain wall, four stories tall, closely faces this path. The patinated copper southwest facade of the new Stuckeman Family Building for the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture seems to peel away from the structure here, ending in a cantilever. But this curving wall, which actually indicates the intersection of two campus grids at a pivotal point, gathers more than it divides. Not only does it guide passersby into the new building, it also epitomizes a structure that joins academic disciplines and campus spaces through thoughtful and dynamic design. Inside, architects and landscape architects share open, airy studios in a $26 million, 110,000-square foot facility that also houses classrooms, labs, shops, offices, and a library, all with rich visual and material connections to the outdoors. It wasn’t always this way. With distinct curricular origins in engineering and horticulture, architecture and landscape departments at Penn State had long been housed in separate parts of the World War I-era Engineering Blocks. Tight spaces and ad hoc additions over the years essentially squelched any real interchange between the two disciplines. “There were tremendous psychological barriers just because of the shape of the rooms,” says Brian Orland, head of the landscape architecture department. Neil Porterfield, former dean of the College of Arts and Architecture, originally championed the idea of a combined building. “He had this vision of architects and landscape architects working together, constantly rubbing shoulders in the same facility,” says Orland. This ideal became the seed of a collaborative, innovative, and open process that prefigured the interdisciplinary qualities of the building itself. By selecting Overland Partners Architects of San Antonio and LaQuatra Bonci Associates, a landscape architecture firm in Pittsburgh, Penn., the university emphasized collaboration. The two firms had worked together on an unrealized environ-

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Texas Architect July/Aug 2006: Color