SOURCE: SmithGroup


November 10, 2011 08:30 ET

Paradise Valley Community College Opens Newly Renovated Mathematics Facility, Designed by SmithGroup

PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwire - Nov 10, 2011) - Paradise Valley Community College, part of the Maricopa Community College District (MCCD), opened the doors to its newly renovated Building Q, designed by SmithGroup.

The $10.6 million, 69,600-square-foot renovation and expansion project transformed the Maricopa County George Campbell Library into a multi-purpose academic facility.

The facility houses the college's math department and created a new home for its Center for Teaching and Learning and Continuing Education programs. It features 23 classrooms, areas for testing, faculty offices and support space. A mezzanine level was added to the original atrium to create a general study space, and the Q Cafe was added to the North Porch; both are part of extensive informal learning spaces throughout the building which encourage students to stay on campus to interact and learn from fellow students in an environment that fosters creativity and collaboration.

The facility also houses the 10,700-square foot Arizona Agribusiness and Equine Center Charter School, a 200-student high school that previously occupied space within the library.

College officials report that the project has reinvigorated the campus while adding much needed instructional space. The building has also garnered recognition from the local community, receiving awards for Education Design Excellence and top honors of "Best in Show" from the International Interior Design Association's (IIDA) Southwest Chapter.

Design & Construction Considerations
Reconstruction entailed two significant moves: shifting the charter school from the northwest to the southwest and relocating the building's main entrance to the north. This created a strong visual identity for the facility and established a critical north-south pedestrian axis linking Building Q to the existing campus. The new design also called for the library's original four-quadrant plan to be squared off, creating a layout that efficiently accommodates academic activities.

According to Paul Dale, Paradise Valley Community College President, "SmithGroup understands the mission of a community college. Their team skillfully translated our learning and educational needs into a creative and striking design."

"Origami Wall," Unique Architectural Feature
The facility's exterior was re-clad in a cost-effective, pre-finished interlocking metal panel skin that provided a clean background, added visual interest, and created a dynamic play of shadow and light. Corrugated panels were incorporated above slot windows to accent 'slices' through the building, and custom perforated panels offer functional screening and shading for entrances and walkways. An array of unconventional metal forms, angles and cants were also used to incorporate abstract mathematical design elements, including a custom-designed "origami wall" of perforated, vibrant yellow metal panels.

The signature "origami" feature extends indoors on walls and ceiling areas to guide people into the two-story atrium through to the math center and back to the entrance. Canted connections, geometric furnishings and light fixtures, and patterned fabrics and carpet tiles further echo the building's mathematical design theme.

The project also incorporated technology upgrades including phone and data lines, audio-visual capabilities, fire alarm and security systems. Solar tubes were added throughout much of the building for natural light, and the aging energy management system equipment was replaced and the building was connected to the state-of-the-art campus central plant.

Jokake Construction served as CM at Risk for the venture.

SmithGroup and MCCD -- a decade-long partnership
Working together since the late 1980s, MCCD and SmithGroup have collaborated on nearly two dozen architectural and planning projects for six of the district's 10 colleges. Most recently, SmithGroup designed multi-award winning projects for Mesa Community College's Physical Science Building and the Saguaro Building, both in Mesa, Ariz. Other past projects include the 47,000-square foot Estrella Mountain Community College Komatke Hall in Avondale, Ariz. and master plan updates for the Chandler-Gilbert and South Mountain campuses.

"Our in-depth experience in the design of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics facilities has enabled us to successfully serve the district on a range of projects," said Eddie Garcia, AIA, LEED AP, vice president and Learning Studio leader for SmithGroup's Phoenix office.

Other Current Work for SmithGroup and MCCD
In addition to continuing to serve Paradise Valley Community College on the $7 million renovation and expansion of the Kranitz Student Center, SmithGroup is also currently working with MCCD's GateWay Community College in Phoenix, Ariz. on a new 122,000-square foot Integrated Education Building (IEB). The $34 million IEB is slated to complete in fall of 2012 and will house science laboratories and classrooms; an indoor and outdoor art studio; a library, learning and computer center; staff and faculty offices; and space for enrollment, counseling, disability and career services. Adjacent to the IEB will be a new $3 million, 12,000-square-foot incubator project, also designed by SmithGroup, which when complete in late 2011 will provide rentable research space for emerging technology start-up companies.

SmithGroup ( is one of the largest architecture and engineering firms in the U.S. and composed of client industry-focused practices serving the workplace, education, healthcare, and science & technology markets. SmithGroup ranked #1 for design quality based on design awards won and #2 overall in Architect magazine's 2011 annual best firms ranking. A national leader in sustainable design, SmithGroup has 354 LEED professionals and 67 LEED certified projects.

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