19 December 2011

A Multi Use Building for Drexel's Master Plan

I recently just finished another term at Drexel. This term was the culmination of a project that lasted almost an entire year. Starting with Master Planning to site design and progressing through programming and detailing, this was probably the most detailed architectural design process I've gone through at Drexel. The project description is as follows:

Drexel University is implementing a new, comprehensive Master Plan with the vision of creating an implied, visual connection within the school's urban campus layout. Additionally the plan aims to increase its presence on Market Street, provide sustainable and easily accessible facilities, and provide a connection between the campus and the surrounding community. The existing conditions on the site consist mainly of parking, JFK Boulevard, 30th Street Station to the east and a rail yard to the north. The site is also bisected by the overhead train tracks and trestle. Some of the sites strongest qualities include its east/west axis, views of center city and the art museum, and it's setting on the campus, which lends itself well to serving as a "gateway" to the community. The plan developed for Precinct K includes the "pedestrianizing" of JFK Boulevard (while still allowing emergency and off-hour vehicular access), providing a "New" Arch Street along the rail yard on the north portion of the site, a parking garage with lower level retail, an iconic, focal building, and a multi-use building.

The multi-use building, which will occupy the plot bordered by a 24 hour hub of activity, icon building on the west and the train trestles to the east, is planned to be an incubator, bench-to-business type building with flexible spaces that allow for changing uses over time.  Starting from scratch, the project included siting the building, developing use and program, designing structural and mechanical systems, and incorporating sustainable design principles throughout. Inspired by a QR Code, the building’s random patterning seen in plan and elevation is an architectural representation of the rapid growth of technology and Drexel’s desire to be at the forefront of this growth. 

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