Cuyahoga Community College Westshore Campus
Liberal Arts and Technology Building
Designed to establish a cohesive campus environment, the Liberal Arts and Technology Building inspires scholarship with flexible spaces that accommodate diverse learning styles.
To make affordable education more accessible, the campus brings together a holistic curriculum in a central location, reigniting the Westshore campus as a hub for learning. Positioned between wetlands and the freeway, the building is highly visible and accessible, elevating the school’s prominence within the community.
Expanding Educational Equity
As part of the college’s larger master plan, the new building consolidates programming into a single campus, designed to support learning at all ages. The new expansion helps create educational equity, by removing barriers and enabling students of color to pursue career advancement in their neighborhood.
The student population at Tri-C is 61% female and 37% identify as part of a minority group. With students ranging from 15-75 years old, nearly 75% of students study part time while juggling work and family responsibilities. The new building makes affordable education accessible to students of color, working parents, and veterans alike.
The facility includes program offerings that are sensitive to the needs of the community, including an open food pantry for student facing food-insecurity.
In Harmony with Nature
The wetlands serve as the backdrop for learning, informing every component of the building’s design. From the interior palette to the gentle curve of the façade, the building yields to the landscape and inspires inquiry about the ecosystem.
Blending the boundaries between inside and out, floor treatments mimic moss and stone, intensifying in green color near the glass façade to create a visual illusion of an open partition. Biophilic mimicry is incorporated throughout, via material choices and views of nature.
The building program takes advantage of the north-facing glass façade, giving 100% percent of rooms direct, or indirect access to natural light. The percentage of frit covering varies throughout the façade, in response to heat-gain measurements throughout the building. This sustainable strategy embodies both form and function— optimizing building performance with a rhythmic pattern on the building skin.
The new facility exemplifies how the built environment can exist in harmony with, and in response to, its surrounding context. The gentle curve of the façade follows the greenspace boundary and orients visual sightlines toward the existing wetland ecosystem.
Positioned toward Lake Erie, the north-facing façade prioritizes views of the surrounding wetland and future planning strategies ensure the protection of the site’s ecosystem. Both buildings work together to create a visual amphitheater, where people can interact with the wetlands from inside and outside the building.
To maximize the building’s footprint, highly flexible spaces support diverse learning modalities with traditional classrooms and third-place spaces where social interactions unfold. More than 75% of Tri-C students study part time while juggling work and family responsibilities. Prioritizing flexible classes is a central value for Tri-C, to remain sensitive to the diverse scheduling needs of students.
Highly visible from the highway, the building is easily accessible by bus with ample commuter parking. Clarified arrival and wayfinding make the campus easily approachable and less overwhelming than a large campus.