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Center for Information and Collaboration


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True collaboration requires a strong, unhindered connection, as well as, homogeneous cohabitation. In the design of the UofA's new Center for Collaboration, these requirements guided concept and design. By physically connecting human circulation paths to the surrounding buildings at different levels, a strong, unhindered connection is established. Second, homogeneous cohabitation was emphasized through the expression of a void within the structure, powerful enough to act as a vacuum to pull the campus together. Like inhabited caves were once the centers for collaboration centuries ago, the overall form of the building is to hold increasingly thick perimeter zones that creep closer and closer to the center as they approach the top of structure. These elements are held at the top by a space-frame, pushed apart to allow natural light to fill the central stair and voids. Within this void is an added program element: Exhibition Space. This ensures a deeper level of connection from the student to the space, a reason to increase visits, a method to experience other colleges, a way to meet new people. To accomplish this, medium program elements were to begin in scarcity at ground level. As the height increased, as did quantity and size as elements stacked up on each other. Smaller spaces fill gaps in the perimeter, cantilevering off of the exterior structure as well as hang from the space-frame. Levels connect hanging and cantilevered elements through a series of hung cat walks that all spawn from the central stair. The physical circulation connections to the surrounding buildings remain "exterior" space as they tunnel through the skin and the rest of the building, connecting to the central stair and other programmatic elements. These tunnels serve dual purpose as vents for the evaporative coolers that condition the large void within. Large and delicate spaces are conditioned through a series of air handlers, small and randomly occupied spaces are conditioned through individual on-demand DX systems. The Program and structure were heavily entwined through process in order to hold strong to the requirements of true collaboration. As these things homogenized more spaces began appearing through the rigorous dispersal of program, all stable, open, and readily visible. These spaces are to become exhibition space as well and the building will become an ever-changing display of creation.

 

 
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