Since its inception in 1967, out of the merger between Western Reserve University and Case Institute of Technology, Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio has struggled to pull together a unified campus from its former fractured halves. This urban planning quagmire will soon be solved this spring with the addition of the Tinkham Veale University Center by noted architecture Firm Perkins+Will.
The planned structure breaks from the traditional architectural styling of the rest of the CWRU campus, with the exception Frank Gehry’s Peter B. Lewis Building for the Weatherhead School of Management, finished nearby in 2002. These two contemporary buildings break from the classical norm and are the flagship structures on the revitalized campus. Along with the atrium in Gehry’s structure, the Tinkham Veale University Center is meant to be a hub of activity on campus and a shining example of the forward thinking that universities are apt to display to benefactors and potential students.
The 82,000 square foot building’s most distinctive feature is the enormous green surface that rises from ground level to form a roof and public space over the two story building. While the use of a green roof is considered “trendy” among sustainable design today, its implementation brings many environmentally sound benefits to lower the embodied cost of the building.
- First, the roof absorbs and filters rainwater, lowering harmful discharge into the water system;
- Secondly, the ultimate heating and cooling costs of the structure are significantly reduced by the insulating qualities of the thick organic material;
- Finally, in metropolitan areas with little green space, the roof serves to combat the heat island effect of increased temperatures due to concrete retaining heat from sunlight.
The addition of this structure to the campus will profoundly change the way the campus operates. While previously experienced as two separate halves, the campus will now be united. Well travelled outdoor paths will be brought under a roof. Recognized landmarks, like the “Turning Point” sculptures, by architect Philip Johnson, will be moved to a new location. Finally, new spaces will be carved out of the old by the rearrangement of structure and void.
Considering this, how much do you think a single structure plays in changing the perception of an area?
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