Part of a strategic initiative to expand the University’s culture of excellence in teaching and learning, the 21st Century Classroom Building (21CB) at Texas A+M University builds upon the cutting-edge learning environments Bora created for the Learning Innovation Center at Oregon State University. This new 117,000 sf facility enjoys a prominent position along a major campus thoroughfare at the juncture of TAMU’s historic core and western campus, requiring a design solution that fulfills its programmatic ambitions while intentionally serving the broader University community.
To address these needs, Bora envisioned a varied and dynamic interior landscape. The three-level 21CB comprises 2,212 seats across ten classrooms ranging from 600-seat in-the-round lecture halls to 72-seat learning studios. Informal study spaces are dispersed amid the formal learning environments. The design also includes a third-floor suite dedicated to TAMU faculty from across the campus, which provides instructional support for these innovative teaching environments.
Our design incorporates large expanses of windows on the ground floor, with interior and exterior spaces flowing together seamlessly, providing transparency, visual connection, and generous daylight. We organized the ground level to showcase the geometry of the arena classrooms, while fluid interstitial spaces between the classrooms provide ample circulation to ease the flow and rush of students during class changes. Throughout the building, a network of informal nooks, lounges, and meeting rooms support focused study for individuals and small groups. Nested within the high-volume ground floor space, the mezzanine lounge is a perch overlooking the activity below, sizable enough to host events, yet intimate for daily use by students.
In dialogue with the iconic Simpson Drill Field bordering our site, the building’s L-shape also defines a significant new outdoor space for the University. Grassy knolls, plentiful bike parking, and a new grove of trees that provide ample shade from the Texas sun invite 21CB students outdoors and welcome others to linger as they move across campus.
College Station, TX
Texas A+M University
Perkins+Will (Architect of Record)
Office of James Burnett
Shah Smith + Associates