We’ve all been watching the cool new building going up for years, and now it’s almost time for the nurses, scientists, and professionals among us to move in. But what many may not know are the design concepts and the philosophy behind the beautiful façade.
Justin Smith, the Construction Project Manager hired by the District’s Department of General Services to oversee the entire project, recently gave The Merritt Connection a sneak peek and talked about the designers’ philosophy.
“There are many great features within the building that have been carefully planned by the designers to please its occupants,” says Smith. “Everyone from the president to the deans to the first-year students will find something new and exciting in this building.”
As Smith explains, there were three specific objects that shaped the conceptual design:
1) New Approach – Enhancing communication by using public areas to create opportunities for stronger interactions;
2) New Heart – Using the central courtyard,
defined by the helix stairway, to energize the building and the campus with clear visibility to instructional and social areas;
3) New Energy – Contributing to learning outcomes through sustainability in acoustics, lighting, indoor air quality, daylight, and views integrated with new technologies.
In keeping with these design concepts, “Learning Neighborhoods” were created — well-defined, dedicated zones spread in key points throughout the building for interaction among students, faculty, and staff. These areas are identified by comfortable furniture, large windows, and soft lighting to encourage active learning through open exchange.
And there is actually more of a scientific philosophy behind the gold-hued screening than just keeping out the glare. According to the designers, it is “artistic abstractions of scientific principles with the coding signifying a genetic legacy that unites all people while recognizing diversity in our population.” In other words, it represents our DNA!