Pennsylvania College of Technology’s decision to consolidate all public and student services into a new building provided an opportunity to bring synergy to campus operations and provide a new symbol of the college’s vision for the twenty-first century. The new Administrative Services Center houses the publicly-accessed offices of the College, such as Admissions and Bursar’s Office. The building is not only the initial stop for first-time visitors to the college, but also provides a crucial link between the campus and the community. The new facility is frequently used for public events, and the tiered auditorium easily accommodates guest lecturers.
Located adjacent to the main campus entrance, the building serves as the “front door” to the campus. Bordering an established residential neighborhood, and the campus drive lawn, the building mass steps down from three to two stories at the west facade in response to the scale of both residential and existing campus facilities. Lighting for the parking area is limited to 7’-6” in height to minimize the visual impact and light “spill” from the parking area at night.
The project allowed the creation of a signature building which emphasizes the technological focus of the campus. Defined by over sized pieces of cast stone and large expanses of glass, and incorporating sun screens along the two story glass facade on the south elevation, the new palette of materials is nonetheless respectful of the existing neighborhood. The introduction of natural light and warmth were the initial cues for the design. All office spaces and upper floor pathways are provided with natural light. Another critical requirement was to design a building that allows easy movement through each of the sequence of spaces.
Building energy efficiency was a primary design criterion and the technologies employed serve as examples of current technology to the staff and students at the institution. Both the glass and shade devices installed along the south facade limit solar gain thereby reducing the size of mechanical equipment. Central energy control for entire mechanical and landscape irrigation systems, along with white TPO roofing further reduces the mechanical system size and operating costs.