Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Sarah Hollenstein Career and Technology Center in Fort Worth, Texas by VLK Architects
September 20th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: VLK Architects
The Sarah Hollenstein Career and Technology Center, or HCTC, will provide students knowledge and skills for emerging, high-tech, and high demand occupations. The goal of the Center is to provide leadership in developing an educated, prepared, adaptable and competitive workforce. Each program has unique, specialized requirements that integrate academics with career preparation. These programs compliment local business and industry, and the curriculum is aligned to industry-recognized certifications/licensures. Most students are ready for certification/licensure upon graduation.
Academies prepare students for life beyond high school with hands-on learning and real-world training. The exterior design, complementary, yet distinctive from other District facilities, was driven by a desire for the building to reflect a corporate facility in order to simulate an actual work environment. Each unique academy is identifiable in the exterior design; exterior materials were chosen not only for durability, but also to compliment the nature of the academies.
The center includes facility space for Aerospace Manufacturing, Automotive Technology, Computer Technology, Construction, Culinary Arts, Industrial Electronics, Health Science Technology, Legal & Protective Services, Visual Arts, Communication and Cosmetology. The District formed partnerships with local and regional industries, workforce organizations, postsecondary institutions and community organizations to provide industry know-how, experience and student opportunities in exchange for helping to provide a well-trained pool of future employees. Real-life labs allow students to put into practice the techniques they have been learning in the classroom. The cosmetology suite is designed to look like a high-end commercial salon and will be open to the public at certain times. The eight-bay Auto Tech area also serves the community and includes public parking spaces and a private entrance.
The Center also includes: a mock court room, a 911 training center, a culinary arts kitchen with a full working bistro, a TV studio, a radio station, an animation lab, a graphic arts studio, a CISCO lab, AC/DC labs and a hospital simulation room. Students have access to industry-standard and cutting-edge software, facilities and equipment. Windows into each space from the corridors allows students and visitors to see the work of the students working in other academies; thus, increasing the interaction between departments.
The building’s floor plan was developed in response to specific departmental adjacencies and their relationship to the central living room space, known as the Forum. Due to the dynamic shape of the plan, the facility has been affectionately nicknamed “Hurricane Sarah.” This flexible conference center can be utilized by the entire district for staff development, conferences or student activities. The wood amphitheater stage and seating area also serve as a grand staircase to the second floor. The sliding glass walls of the two large conference rooms can be completely opened up to the lobby for added flexibility. This space includes a large nine-panel display for multimedia presentations, such as a student film festival. As an added bonus, the adjacent culinary arts program can cater for special events. This space is articulated on the exterior with a sawtooth wall, which has become the signature element of the design.
Prior to developing a floor plan, the design team developed a diagnostic analysis of adjacency requirements and utilized bubble diagrams as tools for analyzing space-planning for each suite and the interdependencies among the different programs. For example, mechanically intensive spaces, such as Construction, Welding, Aerospace Manufacturing and Automotive Technology, are grouped together and share a secure outdoor delivery and work yard.
The facility implements a geothermal heat pump system, which will reduce the overall energy consumption utilized for heating and air conditioning by as much as 30 percent; thus, reducing the overall carbon footprint of the building. Highly-reflective, silver metal roofs displace heat to further reduce energy bills. The roof structure was enhanced to support a future green roof and solar array. Overhangs, sunscreens and low-e insulated glazing help control temperature levels, creating a comfortable, naturally lit learning environment in all learning spaces.
Construction documents were developed utilizing BIM (Building Information Modeling) technology, which allowed the design team to integrate the architectural model and the structural model to identify potential conflicts prior to construction, which saved time and money. Programs utilized include: Revit 2009, AutoCAD Architecture 2007 and Sketchup Version 6.
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