The new campus is bringing together more aspects of urban design as Universities seek to expand their long term real estate value by including uses that were formerly only a part of the surrounding community. By integration the institution accomplishes a shared relationship with the surrounding community, an increased sense of place within the campus and an economic diversity to its base investments. A sense of place can also be heightened by creating a coherent visual identity. Changes in asset management such as student and faculty housing has also renewed inter-campus development with potentially lower risks. Planning can reinforce this long-term economic sustainability while still providing stewardship of legacy, one of a university’s greatest assets. Open Atelier is there to support the plurality of aspirations and brings both traditional and current thinking to the table whether designing the next campus vision or updating existing facilities. We are partnered with researchers in the field to offer our clients the most recent thinking from programming to bricks and mortar.
Community College Commons | Renovation
STEM and the Learning Environment
ESF Design Study
Rose Hill Academy | Renovation
Fall River Boys & Girls Club | Renovation
Science Lab | Renovation
Cazenovia College | Renovation
College Audio Visual Library | Renovation
OCC | Site Analysis
Vernon Verona Central High School | Facade Renovation
Community College Commons | RenovationThis concept was created for Niagara Community College as they sought to expand their library to include a Learning Commons area as well as to enclose an existing courtyard to create a community space. Open Atelier Architects proposed a vibrant point of access and gathering place for the campus through an innovative approach to the entrance of the courtyard. In keeping the space flexible, the campus could use the newly enclosed courtyard space for a variety of learning and social uses. Renovations to the library and the creation of the Learning Commons area were focused on natural flow, adjacencies and maximizing space. Upgrading existing systems would create a comfortable, efficiently atmosphere for students and staff to perform their best.
STEM and the Learning EnvironmentThe President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) projected an economic need for approximately 1 million more STEM professionals than the U.S. will produce at the current rate over the next decade in order for the U.S. to retain its historical preeminence in science and technology. Despite the considerable attention, research, and funding that has been invested in this issue, little progress has been made in increasing student retention in STEM fields. This research attempts to address the issue from a different angle by shifting more of the focus from the teaching methods and curricula to the sustainable built environment and the architectural design of facilities that best support these newly established practices. In order for cross-disciplinary, open and interactive learning associated with STEM to take place, it is necessary for an environment to be designed that best caters to these learning needs. It is with this idea that the built environment can also serve as a pedagogical tool to further engage students in the STEM learning process, especially in regard to addressing today’s critical environmental issues. This research analyzes the architecture of Sustainable STEM Learning Environments, providing a foundation for their progressive design using green technology and sustainable practices in support of STEM learning. This synergy of the architecture of STEM learning in conjunction with sustainable practices forms a symbiotic relationship between the built and natural environment that further enhances the student learning experience and improves performance, increasing student engagement and ultimately retention in STEM fields.
ESF Design StudyThe campus for the College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) sits adjacent to Syracuse University just behind the Carrier Dome. Bordered by housing on the opposite side and highways on an adjacent side, the college is bound by very little real estate and because of the location of the Dome and other supersized structures nearby, has never had a real presence of its own. The Gatehouse project is intended to secure a visible signpost for the main entry to the campus and also provide students of all departments with a gathering place to socialize. The Gateway project’s main feature is the glazed wall opening up towards the entry of the campus and is intended to filter activities from within the building to the outside. ESF established a presence in the environmental and sustainable sector of academia and in practice and thus our design has addressed sustainable measures such as double wall glass façade, solar panels on the roof and roof terraces throughout. The building’s form is intended to sit within the campus’ scale by proportioning the building to align with the existing buildings throughout the campus. The design is perched on the side of a gently sloping hill and takes advantage of the natural terrane to create terraces around the building that evoke a sense of integration into the campus site plan. Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome sits just across the street from the site and creates a massive barrier. For this reason we attempted to integrate as much transparency into the Gatehouse so as not to impinge upon the small available foot print to create a visually open and inviting structure.
Rose Hill Academy | RenovationRose Hill in Waterbury, Connecticut was the site for an education program sponsored by the North American Family Institute for adjudicated teens. The NAFI program features educational, wellness and residential components that require proximity and security. The existing buildings on Rose Hill consisted of an early 1800’s East Lake Cottage style mansion and a complimentary style carriage house built in 1860. The buildings were listed on the National Register and care had to be taken with any interventions. The mansion was left largely unchanged but cosmetically renovated, the carriage house was rehabbed as a school using existing openings, a new gym was positioned under the end wall of the carriage house and a new residence was built between the mansion and carriage house in a contemporary shingle style to compliment the mansion. The gym and site walls were made of local granite and the gym features a green roof, used as a small soccer pitch. The gym resembles the base of a building in deference to the carriage house above. The residence, which houses 14 people, was sided with cedar shingles and board accent bands. The roof has 4’ deep soffits with a knife-edged eave like the shingle style work by Voysey. There was a 30’ elevation drop on the hillside which made construction planning of the utmost importance. There were no cracks in the carriage house upon completion of the gym. The old style doors, windows and the refurbished brackets in the carriage house brought it back to its former prominence. The new facility is an ensemble of distinct buildings serving different purposes. With each having its own historic identity. Though the program has been discontinued, the City Mayor characterized the now unoccupied buildings as “…awesome! An asset that must be protected.” *Project experience from ABAX, Project Architect, Tom Kinslow, AIA
Fall River Boys & Girls Club | RenovationFall River is the home of the first Boys and Girls Club in America. The organization wanted to augment and update the aims of their facility to emphasize education and community outreach along with their time-honored “swim and gym” program. The existing facility was a 1940’s era modern brick building with very few windows, a large pool, gym, cafeteria and weightlifting facilities. Smaller ancillary rooms were used as offices, storage and a kitchen, homework and tutoring was done in the cafeteria. The new 19,000 sf addition provided a full floor library, large tutoring spaces, computer room, a community room, larger recreation spaces with ages separated, a larger kitchen (this facility serves meals to as many as 250 neighborhood kids a day), stair and elevator, toilets and a small atrium. The atrium is skylit to bring daylight down to the library level, as well as to the perimeter spaces in the existing building. The addition is fully accessible. The addition is configured as a lighter, more dynamic form with large cutouts as a contrast to the existing heavy, static and less open building, conveying a sense of welcome to the kids in the neighborhood. The primary face is to the side of the property, anticipating the eventual purchase and development of land for outdoor recreation. The atrium allows space between the two buildings for a dialogue between old and new to take place. The plan organization ties the two together where the spaces are complimentary such as at the new kitchen and old cafeteria and at the new dedicated passage to the adult weight rooms on the second floor. Structurally the point foundation was separated to keep the new loads from surcharging onto the existing building foundation. The atrium zone is cantilevered to accomplish this. This new program has been adopted by the Boys and Girls Club as a national model for updating the existing facilities. * *Project experience from ABAX, Project Architect, Tom Kinslow, AIA
Science Lab | RenovationWith Eckel Hall Science Laboratories, each classroom received a complete remodel, including new work stations for students with dual gas burners, new chemistry exhaust hoods, new furniture with chemical resistant tops, new ventilation system and new high tech presentation material for a more efficient teaching and learning experience. The design of the classrooms was laid out for optimal student teacher interaction by allocating work stations in a close proximity to the podium while also situating the students in a group setting for open dialog and easy access to shared facilities.
Cazenovia College | RenovationObjective: Cazenovia College is a small college in the suburbs of Syracuse, NY. openatelier architects has been providing architectural and design services to the University, for a number of projects over several years. A new main entry to one of the historic buildings required a new stairway and portico and a new Commons Room as a show piece and a lounge area for students and faculty.
College Audio Visual Library | RenovationObjective: Cazenovia College has an opportunity to move forward with bringing together the state of art in library technology with that of multi media. In their quest to be an up to date college with the latest in educational thinking, the library and audio visual technology to create the next wave of learning centers. To accomplish this, we modernized the layout, incorporating electronic media storage and as a result reduced demand for physical book space by digitizing much of the print media. With a section of the library free, the sound proof recording studios and chance collaboration spaces we were able to create for the students made for a twenty first century learning experience.
OCC | Site AnalysisObjective: OCC is accessed through two main entrances, one would be subordinate to the other. The challenge was to create a directory that can make a statement about the school while providing assistance to visitors navigating around the campus. Signage can be more than a static billboard or scrolling text. In this proposal, Open Atelier reconsidered the purpose of communication to elevate the entry signage. By defining key elements throughout the campus, a single main entry Media Display Monument would serve as a dynamic and interactive tool throughout the campus. Visitors to events would be oriented through a series of electronic kiosks that interface with one another. This provides a focal alternative and guiding tool for particular events as they occur.
Vernon Verona Central High School | Facade RenovationObjective: The main entrance of Vernon Verona Central High School is a mid century modern design weathered through many winters of Upstate New York. Open Atelier designed a facade that would enhance the building's character through a statement about the school with the use of glazing colors that bring focus to the school entry. New windows and window patterns allowed for the exploration of color and segmentation utilizing some of the schools team colors in a unique way. As a result, the entry becomes more defined while the remainder of the building benefits through the window restoration project.