The School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at Pennsylvania State University is the University’s first major comprehensive attempt at sustainable design, and Penn State’s first project to involve a process for public participation and feedback. Nearly 100 students, faculty, staff and community stakeholders collaborated with Overland Partners to ensure a successful outcome.
Achieving consensus among the department heads, dean and faculty about the project’s mission was transformational, one of the few times that the two departments had agreed to common aspirations. The design that emerged from the charrette has transformed the School’s culture and brings new life into a former 'back-of-house' area of the campus.
It integrated major pedestrian ways and access to the adjacent Hort Woods in the creation of building and landscape. Faculty offices adjoin social areas to promote interaction. Studios are linked by 'crit mezzanines' that function at the School’s centre, physically and symbolically. Large, open design studios dominate the interior, blend disciplines and allow for broader creative thinking.
Designed to be a centre of activity and accessible 24 hours a day, the new SALA provides not only a world class facility for its curriculum, but also created a new stage for events and achieved a place of vibrancy for the entire sub-campus area.
Completed in association with WTW Architects, the award-winning School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture is LEED Gold Certified. In its first year of operation, the SALA realized over 46% in energy savings (when compared against other new buildings on the campus).