College Planning & Management

DEC 2012

College Planning & Management is the information resource for professionals serving the college and university market. Covering facilities, security, technology and business.

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DOING MORE WITH LESS Observatory, is the long-time home of the astronomy department and houses three telescopes. Through adaptive reuse, the school preserved the splendor of the 1900 Neoclassical building, while equipping it to serve the scientific pursuits of modern astronomers as well as geoscientists, a new cohort of users from the growing environmental studies program. In contrast, Berklee College of Music is located amidst the bustle of the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston. Spread across 21 different buildings, the Berklee campus stretches across several downtown blocks. When a former community health organization vacated a building adjacent to the college's main artery, Berklee acquired it with the intention to co-locate three departments of their Professional Education Division: music therapy, music business/ management, and liberal arts. Because of limited available real estate, a tight budget, and a fast-track schedule, adaptive reuse was the only viable option to achieve this ambitious agenda. Although each college and university has a unique campus culture, particular campus improvement objectives, and specific constraints, adaptive reuse of existing buildings is often a better option than new construction because it: • wrings additional value out of an existing asset; • preserves the original campus fabric, maintaining relationships between buildings, view corridors, and traditional paths of circulation; • conserves resources, from capital improvement budgets to construction materials; • conserves coveted green space on suburban campuses; and • responds to limited building stock and the challenges, expense, and unpredictability of new construction in urban contexts. Similarly, mixed-use design offers a range of benefits not realized in a singleuse facility. These facilities: • reflect a change in pedagogy toward more collaborative and interdisciplinary study, 18 EYES TURNED SKYWARD. Adaptive reuse of the Whitin Observatory facility on the campus of Wellesley College in Wellesley, MA, involved a small expansion and restoration of historic building features, allowing for the accommodation of multiple user groups under one roof. After researching the Observatory's history, a state-of-the-art addition was melded into the structure while preserving the architectural and educational heritage of the place. • facilitate a whole-student approach to education that supports learning inside and outside the classroom, • encourage interaction between students and faculty of different disciplines to cross-pollinate ideas, and • optimize building resources and consolidate support functions. Although each project presented unique challenges and differences in programs, sizes, and budgets, designLAB architects approached both using a holistic process that can be distilled into the following principles. Design Toward the Building's Strengths and Away From Its Weaknesses Located along the northern edge of Wellesley's campus overlooking the arboretum and botanical gardens, Whitin Observatory was conceived as a classical pavilion in the woods. The popularity of the astronomy program made it apparent that the building was not large enough, COLLEGE PLANNING & MANAGEMENT / DECEMBER 2012 and thus began a series of no fewer than four renovations during the 20th century. Although early interventions followed the lead of the original building, those dating to the 1960s and 1980s added program space with little attention to the building's organization or the architectural character of the original. Following extensive research of the building's history and numerous conversations with the planning team and end users, designLAB architects understood the historical significance of the observatory, its role in the campus fabric, and the community's affection for it. It was clear that any intervention should celebrate the architectural artifact. The approach was to peel away the layers that diluted the architectural character, restore period details inside and out, and insert new volumes strategically and in thoughtful dialogue with the original architecture and the forested site. Set one block off humming Massachusetts Avenue, a main thoroughfare that outlines the Berklee campus, the building WWW.PLANNING 4EDUCATION.COM

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