College Station, TX
Inspired by Texas A&M’s mission, the 21st Century Classroom Building promotes and elevates the academic experience by blurring boundaries between teaching and learning, building and site, and tradition and innovation. Located in the heart of campus – the simple L-shaped massing opens to the historic Simpson Drill Field and protects the plaza from the nearby train horns and traffic noises on Wellborn Road.
The building’s brick and concrete, stacked, geometric forms honor the historic 1871 campus, while also establishing a new design language to reflect the innovative program within. The round, brick and concrete drums express the functional form of those teaching spaces while creating dynamic interstitial spaces for informal learning, inside and outside.
Providing respite from the hot Texas sun and winter rains, the floating bars above the drums hold numerous classrooms and a three-pronged instructional support hub to promote the active learning pedagogies at TAMU. A mezzanine lounge and a large exterior terrace connect the interior to exterior and provide opportunities for quiet study above the bustling ground plane.
The building’s permeable ground level maximizes transparency and showcases activity throughout, encouraging students and faculty to linger, communicate and collaborate beyond class time. The nuanced and elemental interior materials concept was influenced by the rural Texas skyline – rooted in dark saturated colors at the ground level and transitioning to a lighter and more muted palette on the upper floors.
Perkins+Will (Architect of Record)
Office of James Burnett
Shah Smith + Associates