NORTH CAROLINA A&T STATE UNIVERSITY GRADUATE ENGINEERING CENTER
The Graduate Engineering Center (GEC) will be built on the North Carolina A&T State University campus in Greensboro, NC, and will be a new 14,000 SF facility adjacent to the existing three building engineering complex on the southern edge of campus along Market Street. The new facility is intended to be a hub for social and collaborative exchange among graduate students and faculty members, and will serve as the catalyst for new, innovative ideas and approaches to the vast disciplines of engineering contained within the College.
The building is positioned to allow it to serve as a new entry for the College of Engineering building complex and connects the nearby quad to the main student entrance for McNair Hall. Inside the building, the program components are configured to allow for connection between McNair Hall and the GEC which provides breakout and multi-use areas for each building. The first floor consists of a glass-clad 2,400 SF social event space where lectures, large conferences, and other special functions can occur, while the seminar rooms, conference areas, offices, and study rooms are on the second floor.
The language of the building draws its inspiration from the simple clarity found in elegantly refined engineering solutions. The lower level is left largely open and focuses on the movement and student activity that is inherent in the space. The upper level is shrouded in a metal veil with openings carved into it, providing light and views only where needed. The placement of the openings balances the need for light and views while being mindful of glare and solar heat gain. In addition, they are positioned to limit views of the large parking lot to the east, and instead focus on the tree canopy and sky. The southern and northeastern ends of the veil are left open with long overhangs, providing expansive views of the quad and planted landscape while protecting the interior from direct sunlight. Through the use of simple yet refined detailing, materials that require minimal maintenance, and a design that protects from the sun, the operational and maintenance costs will be minimized.
The exterior areas of the facility are designed to promote usable, interactive spaces for the College of Engineering, strengthening the project goals of dialogue and exchange. Terraced seating areas are provided along the main entry stair beneath the second floor overhang and provide places for student activity, gathering, and sharing. The courtyard between the GEC, McNair Hall, and Cherry Hall will be revitalized to create a strong pedestrian-focused area where students can find peace from the heavy foot traffic going to and from the College of Engineering.
The Graduate Engineering Center will be the first LEED building on the campus of NC A&T State University and is currently targeting Gold Level Certification.