Texas Architect Jan/Feb 2007: Spaces for Learning
Texas Architect is the official publication of the Texas Society of Architects, each edition features recently completed projects and other editorial content largely written by AIA members in Texas. That collective participation was the basis of Texas Architect’s recognition by the national AIA with a 2010 Institute Honor for Collaborative Achievement.
texas architect 42 1/2 2007 by Chris sChultz, AiA ‘Community’ College The far northeastern section of metropolitan San Antonio is an amalgam of urbanizing late 19th Century farming communities and 20th Century bedroom suburbs extending in patchwork patterns of roofs, fields, and retail strip centers. For what it has in sheer volume of construction, the area generally lacks any cohesive center. Into this void has stepped the Alamo Community College District (ACCD) with a plan to create an entirely new joint-use facility—the Northeast Lakeview College. Not only is the institution to serve the educational and training needs of an estimated 15,000 students from the nine-community catchment area, but just as importantly, the facilities are to provide the surrounding areas with much-needed community resources. Though the need was identified as early as the mid-1990s, only after area voters approved a $450 million bond package in 2005 has Northeast Lakeview College begun to take shape. In preparation for the vote, ACCD hired a team to begin planning the new campus. The team was headed by asso- ciated architects Ford, Powell & Carson Architects & Planners and Overland Partners Architects. Located near the bustling intersection of Interstate 35 and Loop 1604 and fortuitously sited adjacent to an existing public park with a small lake, the team developed a plan that adeptly integrates the site’s amenities, topography, and natural drainage features to create what might best be termed an academic village. It skillfully combines both the conceptual organization of an Italian hill town and the formal open-space planning of traditional collegiate campuses. Clustered near the center of the site, the V-shaped complex of buildings is focused around a plaza, reminiscent of the central piazza of the Italian model. And like its Old World precedent, this central gathering area is home to the most communal buildings – the library and learning resources center, the performing arts complex, the student commons, and student services building – almost all of which are intended for joint use by the academic and surrounding communities. By interweaving these buildings around the plaza, the designers, at the request of the ACCD administrators, inten- project Northeast Lakeview College, Live Oak and Universal City client Alamo Community College District architects Ford Powell & Carson Architects and Planners; Overland Partners Architects design team Boone Powell, FAIA; John Mize, AIA; Jay Louden; Tim Blonkvist, FAIA; Rick Archer, FAIA; Steve Kline consultants The Office of James Burnett Landscape Architecture (landscape); Goetting & Associates (MEP); CNG Engineering (elec- trical); Facilities Programming & Consulting (programming); Pape- Dawson (civil); CF Zavala Group (landscape); Fernandez, Frazer, White & Associates (civil); Datum Gojer Engineers (structural); Datacom Design Group (data/telecommunications); Project Cost Resources (cost estimating); fd2s (environmental graphics); Droll Worldwide Security (physical security) illustrator Jim Arp Dominating the main entrance is a clock tower, a prominent visual marker that orients people to the central plaza. the plan of the new campus illustrates its provenance in italian hilltop communities.