Honorable Mention - SCUP Excellence in Architecture for Building Additions, Renovation or Adaptive Reuse
Haverford College VCAM (Visual Culture Arts and Media) Building
. . . very thoughtful project . . . effective reuse of existing gym into visual arts venue . . . retains existing building character with unique floating elements and reuse of indoor track for circulation . . . attention given to sustainable site designs, protection of existing mature trees, and planting of new trees to enhance campus arboretum is terrific . . .
Site – 1 acre; Building – 25,000 sq ft
All primary program spaces open onto and animate the heart of the building.
The VCAM facility evolved in response to a cross-disciplinary mission grounded in visual culture.
The historic running track provides circulation and casual learning space.
The project reestablishes critical campus walkway links
Gym flooring is repurposed into decorative ceilings.
Wood from a campus tree became stair treads and tabletops.
Material reuse promotes a spirit of making and memory.
The project preserved all affected trees and removed an abandoned squash court to create public green space for making, performance, and display.
Combined uses alleviated the need for a building addition, thereby preserving funds and creating an opportunity on the master planning level for future campus infill.
The VCAM project repurposes a 1910 gymnasium, which sat largely unused since the construction of a modern recreation building in 2005, into a curricular and co-curricular facility for visual culture, arts, and media. The programming goals for the space are threefold: to bring visual literacy, the arts, and creative design into the interstices of the liberal arts and programming across STEM, the humanities, and the natural and social sciences; to create spaces for the campus to engage with local and Philadelphia communities year round; and to explore technology and innovation with an eye to both social entrepreneurship and critical awareness in legal and scientific venues.
The following principles guided the design:
Nexus – Create relationships with adjacent buildings and landscape spaces and a central vertical campus transition point.
Collaboration – Foster interaction by creating openness, comfort, visibility, activity, and self-organization.
Hub – Create a compelling center from which all activities radiate.
Adaptability – Provide a flexible physical environment that gracefully accommodates change.
Memory – Collage existing architecture with new architecture.
Directness – Use materials, organization, and form in honest, elegant, and intuitive ways.
Function – Be maintainable and efficient.
Activation – Provide opportunities to attain visual literacy through dynamic spaces.
MSR Design; also Nave Newell, Inc.; Keast & Hood Co.; Bruce E. Brooks & Associates; The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company