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Design for Thriving Knowledge Communities

Edens Quad, Duke University (above and cover)

PARTNER. DISCOVER. TRANSFORM. We begin with partnership. Great ideas come from collaboration. Our approach crosses disciplines to inspire innovation. Our process advances communities through discovery and design.

Higher Education Practice

As a higher education design practice, our vision is to partner with our clients to create knowledge communities that thrive.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

Colleges and universities are continuously balancing competing priorities such as shifting educational models, tight budgets, and rapidly changing technology. With increasing options for online learning impacting the traditional campus model and tuition costs undergoing heightened scrutiny, institutions of higher education need academic and social environments that not only appeal to students but actively facilitate learning. Capital projects undertaken on college and university campuses today must support clear goals and objectives – and we collaborate with our clients to plan and design innovative learning environments that promote academic success among students. From cutting edge STEM and STEAM facilities, to library design, to integrated facilities developed in partnership with corporations, our architects, engineers, planners, and interior designers partner with our clients to discover new academic solutions.

< Semans Library, UNC School of the Arts


01 02 03 04

LEARNING Transforming the concept of the classroom

RENEWAL Expand, Replace, Transform

DELIVERY Realizing Your Vision

ABOUT Firm Overview & Accolades

> James B. Hunt Jr. Library, NCSU

As both educators and designers, we see three primary trends influencing the way higher education will look in the future: + the transformation of the concept of the classroom; + campus renewal; + and the importance of alternative delivery methods. In the following pages, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll explore these shifts and review innovative design responses that position our college and university partners for success.

01 LEARNING Transforming the Concept of the Classroom Referred to by Time magazine as “the library of the future,” the design of the Hunt Library reflects how learning has changed. Featuring multiple, varied spaces for both collaboration and quiet study as well as the integration of cuttingedge technology and gaming spaces, this environment propels NC State University toward its vision.

The concept of the classroom is undergoing rapid transformation, impacting the way education is delivered and received. Traditionally, the classroom has functioned around a teacher giving information to students – the “sage on the stage” model. Today, educational research and the students themselves are shifting our notion of instruction, emphasizing a “guide on the side” model that promotes collaboration, interaction, and projectbased learning. As both designers and educators, we help our clients meet these shifting education trends, including the need for hands-on, studio-based learning; STEM and STEAM programming; advanced technology; living-learning environments; leveraging gaming as learning; and creating spaces that allow for student preference to take precedence. The following pages explore examples of these changes and their positive impact on higher education. The classroom can be anywhere, as learning takes place everywhere.


9 *Designed in association with Snøhetta

Clark Nexsen Higher Education / 01 Learning

Classroom to Studio

With increased emphasis on maker spaces and project-based learning, classrooms must be more flexible, enabling professors to engage with students in new ways. In James Madison Universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Duke Hall, the renovation and expansion of this space emphasizes hands-on learning in a studio environment. Crafted to inspire arts exploration, studio spaces are light-filled and open to a sculpture courtyard where work in progress can be viewed.

LEED Silver Certified by the USGBC

AIA Virginia Merit Award


11 *Designed in association with GUND Partnership

Clark Nexsen Higher Education / 01 Learning

Interdisciplinary Collaboration

STEM, STEAM, and STEM-H demand is growing across the nation as students, private businesses, and institutions recognize the tremendous career opportunities in these fields. To create effective STEM-related environments, designers and institutions must promote interdisciplinary collaboration, hands-on learning, and independent research. The Health & Human Sciences Building at Western Carolina University is a cutting-edge facility that promotes collaboration between scientific disciplines as well as between faculty and students. Structured around a light-filled central atrium, labs, classrooms, a teaching clinic, and coffee shop share spaces for both collaboration and reflection. Responsive to its site, the building capitalizes on stunning mountain views with a 20,000 square foot roof garden. LEED Gold Certified by the USGBC


AIA Virginia Honor Award; AIA North Carolina Merit Award


Clark Nexsen Higher Education / 01 Learning

Living & Learning

No longer confined to traditional academic spaces, learning is increasingly being integrated into student life environments. By transforming the residence hall concept to create living-learning centers, colleges and universities can improve student engagement, success, and retention. At Duke University, the Edens Quad Residence Complex was transformed from a fortress-like environment to one that conveys indoor-outdoor connectivity and a sense of energy around academic pursuits. The programming integrates strategically located areas for group and individual study, collaboration, and gaming, promoting the high levels of academic achievement Duke is known for.

AIA North Carolina Design Award; Award for Excellence in Structural Engineering




In short, successful Living Learning Programs... might be considered microcosms of what our colleges and universities can and should be: intentionally designed learning environments that work doggedly to maximize student learning... related to the high-order skills and abilities that allow students to become citizens and leaders of the world.â&#x20AC;? - Association of American Colleges & Universities



Clark Nexsen Higher Education / 01 Learning

Collaboration & Focused Learning

The freedom to choose how and where collaboration and study take place is a top priority for today's students, making it critical to provide a variety of flexible, engaging spaces. The UNC Coastal Studies Institute features a stunning natural setting that promotes the collaborative and independent study taking place within its walls. Designed to be a highly sustainable, resilient research building, CSIâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s program enables the structure to withstand sea level rise and other future realities of the coastal environment. "The design has already established a reputation for beauty and functionality," said Nancy White, Executive Director of the Coastal Studies Institute, "it will serve us well in recruiting the best faculty, providing the best experience for the faculty and students, and conducting top-notch multi disciplinary, integrative, inter-institutional research." LEED Gold Certified by the USGBC; AIA North Carolina COTE Award for Sustainability


Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Award for Best New Global Design AIA North Carolina Design Award AIA Virginia Design Award


Clark Nexsen Higher Education / 01 Learning

Learning on Display

With the modern emphasis on project-based learning, the natural consequence is to put learning on display. Further, colleges and universities seek to create academic environments that embody their intended purpose through design. In the Knight Hall College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, the use of transparency serves dual purposes as it relates to the importance of transparency in the practice of journalism and offers engaging views into student activity. Conveying the image of an institution at the forefront of the 21st century journalism profession, Knight Hall features four news labs, a 70-seat broadcast theater, a multipurpose studio and editing lab, and a 24-hour multimedia open lab space. Public spaces are woven throughout to encourage frequent interaction between students, faculty, and journalism professionals.

LEED Gold Certified by the USGBC AIA Potomac Valley Sustainable Honor Award; AIA Maryland Design Award


21 *Designed in association with Grimm + Parker Architects

Clark Nexsen Higher Education / 01 Learning

Gaming as Learning

Students arriving on campus today have grown up with technology â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and gaming â&#x20AC;&#x201C; as a nearly seamless aspect of their lives. By leveraging gaming and similar engaging technologies in learning environments, faculty are able to connect students with information in a platform that is intuitive to the student. The Game Lab at the James B. Hunt Library at NC State University is a great example of how gaming can enhance learning. Similarly, gaming spaces can be implemented to enhance the student life experience and encourage interaction amongst students.

LEED Silver Certified by the USGBC

AIA CAE Education Facility Design Merit Award; AIA/ALA Library Building Award; Stanford Prize for Innovation in Research Libraries (SPIRL)


23 *Designed in association with Snøhetta

Clark Nexsen Higher Education / 01 Learning

Buildings that Inform

As our understanding of the learning process grows, we better understand the role of the visual and tangible experience. Merging technology, education, and sustainability, the Regional Plant 2 at Wake Technical Community College is primarily intended to house heating and cooling systems, but the design team seized the opportunity to present those systems for educational purposes. The striking aesthetic of the building technology creates a unique instructional experience that reveals technologyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s role in preserving the beauty of the natural world.

AIA CAE Education Facility Design Excellence Award; AIA Virginia Honor Award; AIA North Carolina Honor Award; Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Award



Clark Nexsen Higher Education / 01 Learning

Outdoor Instruction

As faculty seek new ways to engage students, the setting for learning must change. We see this evolving mentality – moving away from auditoriums featuring a ‘sage on the stage’ – in the inclusion of living-learning environments, the transformation of library use, and in the integration of new elements, such as outdoor classrooms, in academic building design. The new Academic Building at John Tyler Community College defines a new campus quad and houses a black box theater, classrooms, offices, and study spaces. Indoor/outdoor connectivity was a priority for both the client and design team, and the building program created the opportunity for a green outdoor teaching space on the third floor. In high demand, faculty and students alike have embraced this space and the opportunity to engage in a new setting.

AIA Hampton Roads Honor Award


Clark Nexsen Higher Education / 01 Learning

Project-Based Learning

Todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s instruction increasingly leverages project-based learning to empower students to explore and understand complex concepts. This teaching method requires flexible spaces, technical tools, and inspiring environments for the greatest degree of student success. To the left, the laboratory setting at the UNC Coastal Studies Institute offers the opportunity for students to engage with technology and research their own hypotheses. To the right, students collaborate on projects in Wake Tech's Regional Plant 2, a building that acts as both a classroom facility and functional plant.



Clark Nexsen Higher Education / 01 Learning

Environments for Unique Learning Styles

Todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s students prefer to learn, interact, and socialize differently. In Building F at Wake Technical Community College, the design concept responds to and actively engages a wide variety of unique learning styles by offering a corresponding degree of environments. Throughout open spaces, furniture is varied and organized to offer both group arrangements and private study, while collaboration rooms provide opportunities for students to work together.

LEED Silver Certified by the USGBC



Clark Nexsen Higher Education / 01 Learning

Aligning Education and Workplace

As colleges and universities face increasing pressure to graduate students prepared to contribute immediately in the 21st century workplace, instructional spaces must align with future workplace experiences. At Western Carolina University, the Health & Human Sciences Building integrates a community clinic in which students provide care directly to patients while under faculty supervision. By aligning the environment with real-world experience, students gain invaluable exposure and faculty are presented with an opportunity to offer specific, immediate guidance on both interaction and care.

LEED Gold Certified by the USGBC AIA Virginia Honor Award; AIA North Carolina Merit Award



02 RENEWAL Expand, Replace, Transform

The renovation of Duke Hall at James Madison University renewed this fine arts facilityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s purpose, transforming its ability to serve both students and the surrounding community as a cultural center.

Campuses today are in a constant state of renewal, expanding with new buildings and spaces, replacing buildings that have outlived their useful life, and transforming existing facilities to meet changing needs. Campus renewal projects often help address the learning transformation previously outlined, as buildings become more functional or gain new purpose. Renewal may take shape in the renovation of historic or outdated facilities; expansion of existing buildings or programs; adaptive reuse; preservation; and the implementation of a master plan. Regardless of what form campus renewal takes, the goal of higher education clients is the same: to meet current and future programmatic needs while giving new life to the campus community. The following pages explore examples of campus renewal and the transformative impact it can have on campus connectivity, preservation, sustainability, and the student experience.



Clark Nexsen Higher Education / 02 Renewal

Amenities to Enhance the Student Experience

As colleges and universities seek to increase crossover between academic and social aspects of students’ lives, a key component of campus renewal takes shape in enhancing the function and amenities in historic buildings. The East Campus Union on Duke University’s campus was long thought of as a dining hall only. A top priority in its renovation was to go beyond dining and create a multifunctional, welcoming facility for first-year students to use around the clock. The addition of study spaces, a café, and integration of technology provide students with the opportunity to collaborate, study independently, or catch an open-mic show – transforming the function and amenities of the space. In the college and university arms' race, amenities like exceptional dining stand out to prospective students. Duke is frequently recognized for its top-ranked dining program, including being named College Innovator of the Year 2017 by Food Management and ranked first for Best Colleges for Food in America 2016 by The Daily Meal. 36


Clark Nexsen Higher Education / 02 Renewal

Revitalizing Major Structures

Existing buildings are often meaningful structures on a college campus. Revitalizing, renovating, and expanding these facilities frequently involves both aesthetic and functional upgrades as well as the addition of modern building systems. Built in the late 1800s and used to house the city's streetcars, the Car Barn at Georgetown University is part of both the University's and the city's historic fabric. This renovation transformed the first floor into a light-filled, cutting edge space for classrooms, offices, and collaboration areas. By respecting the building's character while modernizing systems, the Car Barn integrates state-of-the-art technology in a welcoming, historically-rich environment.



Clark Nexsen Higher Education / 02 Renewal

Expanding Arts Programming

To meet goals for STEAM programming and integrate artbased fields of study, colleges and universities must find new, collaborative ways to expand arts programs on campus. At John Tyler Community College, a black box theater creates a home for the arts within a multidiscipline academic building. This effort to blend the arts with other fields of study is geared at graduating well-rounded students with both technical and analytical skill sets. The reimagined Duke Hall at James Madison University acts as an arts center for both the university and the community, putting art on display and fostering engagement between students and regional professionals.



Clark Nexsen Higher Education / 02 Renewal

Creating New Campus Gateways

Every college campus has an aging population of 1960’s era buildings requiring not just systems upgrades, but also transformative design vision to create spaces that attract students. At Duke University, the Edens Quad Residence Complex represented this breed. Previously described as fortress-like by students, today Edens Quad is a vibrant residential community transformed through a series of “lanterns” that provide transparency and connect student commons activity to exterior quad activity. The threshold is animated by group study and gaming areas that provide a unique campus amenity for Edens as well as the larger campus community.

AIA North Carolina Design Award; Award for Excellence in Structural Engineering



Clark Nexsen Higher Education / 02 Renewal

Reimagining Historic Buildings

Originally constructed in 1914, the Park Shops building at NC State University is a valued historic structure on campus. Seeing an opportunity to merge preservation and sustainability, the University partnered with our design team to transform this building into a 21st century, multipurpose academic space. Today, Park Shops houses classrooms, anthropology and archaeology research and teaching labs, televised classrooms, video-conferencing facilities, a cafĂŠ, and office space. The L-shaped building also forms two sides to a new campus plaza and animates the surrounding neighborhood.



North Carolina Honor Award; Virginia Merit Award; CAE National Award of Merit; South Atlantic Region Honor Award



Compliments are received regularly from Park Shops visitors regarding the marriage of history and future, light and warmth, smooth and texture, industry and education.â&#x20AC;? - Roger Callanan, ED.D Assistant Dean Division of Undergraduate Academic Programs, NCSU



Clark Nexsen Higher Education / 02 Renewal

Enhancing Campus Landscape

Campus landscape plays an important role in the student experience, from providing easy wayfinding between buildings to supporting a sense of engagement and well-being. The Semans Library at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts transformed the campus landscape and connectivity, establishing a new sense of place with an urban path leading to a revitalized plaza. Students now study, mingle, and meet in the vibrant landscape around the library in addition to taking advantage of its light-filled interior spaces. At night, the transparency of the library acts as a lantern on campus, illuminating the surrounding path and plaza.



03 DELIVERY Realizing Your Vision

The Henderson County Health Sciences Center integrates a hospital cancer center as well as academic space for Wingate University and Blue Ridge Community College. Led by Henderson County, this unique public-private partnership enhances the Hendersonville community, healthcare delivery, and health education.

In todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s environment of constrained financial resources and increasing competition, colleges and universities are searching for creative ways to finance and build capital projects. Requiring strong leadership at the institutional level, successfully realizing a project vision involves team members with expertise in finance, design, and construction. While traditional financing and construction delivery methods such as legislative appropriation, institutionally or project-backed bonds, design-bidbuild, and CM at Risk have been used by higher education institutions for many years, newer approaches are emerging. Public-private partnership (P3) is one of the hottest topics in higher education project delivery, and for good reason. Done right, P3 can be incredibly successful. Additionally, fast-track construction methods such as design-build are gaining traction as faculty, students, and staff demand more immediate solutions. The following pages explore the partnerships behind these emerging project delivery approaches.



Clark Nexsen Higher Education / 03 Delivery

Public-Private Partnerships (P3)

Arguably the hottest topic in alternative delivery methods these days, publicprivate partnerships provide an opportunity for the private equity sector and higher education to come together to finance and deliver capital projects. Frequently, P3 takes shape as a privatized, developerled partnership such as the Cross Neighborhood project at the University of Oklahoma. On other occasions, a partnership between multiple parties is formed, such as a city or county, university, and private entity, as is the case for the Henderson County Health Sciences Center. This facility will serve Pardee Hospital as home to their cancer center, as well as Wingate University and Blue Ridge Community College, providing opportunities for students, teachers, and patients to interact in an environment that emphasizes transparency.



Clark Nexsen Higher Education / 03 Delivery

Public-Private Partnerships (P3)

Increasingly common in the delivery of new student housing, public-private partnerships require the balancing of priorities between institution and developer. To deliver new freshman housing in a centralized location on Virginia Commonwealth Universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s campus, the team leveraged the financial flexibility provided by P3 and collaborated to find a solution that blended university and developer design standards and unit preferences. The result is a balanced floor plan with amenities designed to appeal to students and contribute to a positive campus experience.


55 *Designed in association with Ayers Saint Gross

Clark Nexsen Higher Education / 03 Delivery

Multiple Financing Entities

The Virginia State University Multipurpose Center is a good example of leveraging academic, athletic, and recreation needs on a public university campus to obtain financing from state and local authorities as well as corporate and private contributions. Completing these types of projects can take years of planning and lobbying as well as complex negotiations with multiple entities. Home to the VSU basketball and volleyball teams, the Multipurpose Center is a physical manifestation of Trojan pride and serves as a catalyst for the revitalization of the surrounding historic Ettrick community. Throughout the design and legislative funding process, Clark Nexsen provided renderings and cost estimates to help VSU advance the project rapidly and smoothly. With infrastructure and transportation improvements supported by Chesterfield County and the City of Colonial Heights, this is a true community project that has fostered economic development.


57 *Designed in association with AECOM

Clark Nexsen Higher Education / 03 Delivery


Frequently leveraged for lower cost and speed of delivery, successful designbuild projects rely on a close partnership between designer and builder. To promote strong partnerships between their designers and builders, Penn State has selected the design-build delivery method with success on multiple campuses, including the flagship State College campus as well as their Brandywine campus. Orchard Residence Hall, pictured to the right, is the first phase of a Master Plan to create a new residential neighborhood on Brandywineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s campus, transforming this commuter school with first-time on-campus housing. Located behind the academic quad on a pristine, wooded site, the residence hall maximizes space for future residential and academic growth and is sited to enhance campus pathways, providing a gateway to the new student union.

Pending LEED Silver Certification



Clark Nexsen Higher Education / 03 Delivery


Establishing strong partnerships with clients and professional peers is fundamental to a collaborative design process that advances higher education. These relationships support client goals and the delivery of successful projects. At the University of Miami, our multi-year collaboration has involved expert partners including Clark Nexsen, Brailsford & Dunlavey, Moss & Associates, and Juneau Construction, as well as the University. This partnership has supported the client with leadership in program management, market analysis, financing, and programming. Ultimately, the goal is to develop an effective Housing Strategic Facilities Plan and help the University evaluate design alternatives to maximize their budget while achieving an exceptional student life experience.



Clark Nexsen Higher Education / 03 Delivery

Traditional Financing & Delivery Methods

Many universities are familiar with more commonly utilized financing and delivery methods, including: ++

Legislative Appropriation for Financing


Project-Backed Bonds


Construction Management at Risk



Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve successfully partnered with clients and contractors to deliver hundreds of projects via these methods, as well as the emerging methods discussed in this section.


To have an architectural firm that really embraces the notion of collaboration and welcoming the construction manager to the table is, I think, ideal and good for the project.” - Allen Jones, Skanska USA, on Clark Nexsen's 2017 AIA NC Firm of the Year Award

63 James B. Hunt Library, NC State University *Designed in association with Snøhetta

04 ABOUT Firm Overview & Accolades

Clark Nexsen is a transdisciplinary architecture and engineering firm providing innovative design solutions to U.S. and global clients. With 10 offices spanning Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and Texas, our people work to shape the future by discovering opportunities to transform the way we live in and experience our world. Leveraging the strength of multiple disciplines, we actively collaborate across intersecting areas of expertise to gain new perspectives, inspire innovation, and deliver high-performing, sustainable projects. Our firm of 400 professionals delivers solutions for architecture, engineering, planning, interior design, and landscape architecture. Our expertise encompasses higher education, K-12, science and technology, healthcare, institutional, and public work for local and national clients.



Clark Nexsen Higher Education / 04 About

Select Accolades

To develop innovative solutions for our clients, we remain committed to excellence in every aspect of our work. Since 1920, this commitment to the client experience and exceptional design quality has been reflected by our many repeat clients and industry accolades. ++

ARCHITECT 50 Top U.S. Design Firm - #20


ARCHITECT 50 Top U.S. Design Firm, Business Category - #3


2017 AIA NC Firm of the Year


87+ AIA design awards


250+ design awards in last 20 years


#8 Building Design + Construction’s list of the Top University Sector Architecture Firms


#24 Building Design + Construction’s list of the Top Architecture/Engineering Firms


#23 Building Design + Construction’s list of the Top S+T Architecture Firms




Building Design + Construction’s Top University Architecture Firms Ranking


Clark Nexsen Higher Education / 04 About

Integrated Design Enhances Sustainability

We believe it is our social responsibility to advance our communities through innovative, sustainable design. Sustainability and green design must positively impact long-term environmental, economic, and social roots. As a transdisciplinary architecture, engineering, and planning firm, Clark Nexsen offers a collaborative, solutions-oriented design approach that addresses integral systems, structures, and finishes of a project - and environmental, economic, and social impacts. We refer to this approach as 'Integrated Design.' In addition to the LEED Rating System, our staff is experienced with Green Globes, Energy Star, the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Envision tool, and other mechanisms for designing sustainable outcomes. By leveraging the intersections of our diverse knowledge base, we embrace an integrated design approach that has led to the delivery of more than 120 LEED certified, pending, or self-certified projects. Through our commitment to the AIA 2030 Challenge, we are holding ourselves accountable to continue innovating and implementing new sustainable strategies. 87 LEED Certified projects complete; 120+ projects are LEED Certified, pending certification, or self-validated



Clark Nexsen Higher Education / 04 About

Select Higher Education Clients

Appalachian State University Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College Augusta University Baltimore City Community College Barton College Blue Ridge Community College (NC) Blue Ridge Community College (VA) Cape Fear Community College Central Georgia Technical College Central Piedmont Community College Central Virginia Community College Clemson University College of William & Mary Dabney S. Lancaster Community College Davidson College Duke University East Carolina University Eastern Virginia Medical School Elon University Fayetteville State University Fayetteville Technical Community College George Mason University Georgetown University Georgia Tech Germanna Community College 70

Guilford Technical Community College Haywood Community College Isothermal Community College James Madison University John Tyler Community College Midlands Technical College Mitchell Community College Montgomery Community College Norfolk State University North Carolina A&T State University North Carolina Central University North Carolina State University North Carolina Wesleyan College Northern Virginia Community College Old Dominion University Penn State University Radford University Randolph College United States Military Academy United States Naval Academy University of Maryland at College Park University of Mary Washington University of North Carolina at Asheville University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill University of North Carolina at Charlotte University of North Carolina at

Greensboro University of North Carolina at Pembroke University of North Carolina School of the Arts University of North Carolina at Wilmington University of South Carolina at Lancaster University of South Carolina at Aiken University of Southern Mississippi Tidewater Community College Troy University University of Georgia University of Miami University of Oklahoma University of Virginia Virginia Commonwealth University Virginia Military Institute Virginia Tech Virginia State University Wake Technical Community College Western Carolina University Wingate University Winston-Salem State University York Technical Community College


Together we discover, inspire, and shape ideas that transform our world.

Learn more at

Profile for Clark Nexsen

Design for Thriving Knowledge Communities  

Clark Nexsen Higher Education Book

Design for Thriving Knowledge Communities  

Clark Nexsen Higher Education Book