On common ground

James
Tuesday 23 Feb 2010

Ikon 5's Campus Commons building reflects its regional landscape

The State University of New York at New Paltz needed to provide a student gathering space on campus and wished to transform its utilitarian image.Incorporating a student commons, information center, conference and meeting rooms, the Campus Commons is designed as a ‘crystalline palisade’ set between the utilitarian concrete buildings at the campus entrance. The expressive form of the addition is influenced by the strong regional landscape of the Hudson River Valley where it is sited. The forms are drawn from the vistas of the Shawangunk ridge and create an exterior sculptural expression of the landscape and a dramatic interior space of the Catskill Mountains.

In order to structure this ‘crystalline palisade’, a stress skin wall and roof system of exposed steel tubes creates a column-free net on which the glazing units are placed. A ceramic fritted glass enclosure veils over the structural stress skin to provide enclosure. The frit pattern is abstracted from tectonic configurations of the stone ledges of the Shawangunk ridge.

The Campus Commons is a sustainable high performance building that is designed to reduce energy consumption and provide a healthy and enlightened interior environment through utilising a ceramic fritted glass enclosure to harvest daylight and reduce solar gain, reducing lighting requirements by optic controls and employing radiant heating and cooling to temper the occupied spatial strata of the space. The building has enhanced the education process because it now is the campus symbol and icon appropriately connected to the regional landscape, thus giving the students a physical identity and improving the overall image of the university.

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