Completed in 2020, the technical campus is an augmentation of the pre-established Collin College. The campus is located in one of the fastest-growing states in the US, Texas. It offers a variety of courses including automotive, art, architecture, construction, IT, etc. Perkins and Will designed the structure as a miniature of a society that is set to serve approximately 7100 students of different age groups, skill sets, backgrounds, and interests. The three-storied structure is located on a 32-acre contoured site with a total building extent of 340,000 square feet which integrates into the dense greenbelt to the north. It is a future-ready campus that multi-purposely serves the functions of classrooms, science labs and provides project-based understanding.

“We just didn’t build it for today; we built it for tomorrow.”

Neil Matkin (Collin College’s District President)

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Cantileverd Edges of Academic Building_©Perkins&Will

The Four Wings

Collin College Technical Campus consists of four buildings, namely, Academic Building, Trade Bar B, Trade Bar C, and Trade Bar D, with three of them constructed on top of a 592-space garage, and the garage is underground with a subterranean approach. Perkins and Will have designed the Trade Bar buildings as an exoskeleton of tilt wall panels that houses the labs of various trade programs and are dedicated to major concentration areas offered at the campus. The base of the academic building appears to be cut out of the ground. The reinforcing steel cages for the columns and the poured concrete walls at the garage level are pan-decked. The entrance of the garage dons a curved radius wall. Academic Building’s south and north façades are a cantilevered steel truss system that allows students to sit under shaded space and relax. The north and south ends of the parking garage are open air which was designed to eliminate the need for mechanical ventilation into the garage. Polycarbonate panels used on the trade bars are waterproof wall systems and are translucent to allow outside light to come in.

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©Perkins&Will

The Connectedness

Perkins and Will have made sure that the interior is lively and it maintains the balance between the built mass and the positive environment. Central circulating areas of the campus act as a bioswale for stormwater drainage runoff and are a manifestation of open breezeways and gathering spaces. Bridges, open air as well as enclosed, connect each trade bar to the Academic Building through glass-covered walkways. Social spaces like courtyards together with a series of pedestrian and landscape paths are incorporated to form a sense of social connectedness for the students. Perkins and Will have attempted to create a pleasant micro-climate throughout the site and built mass. “Learning yards” between the trade bars are exterior spaces for interdisciplinary and practical learning. 

Blue, yellow, green, and orange colors in the interior play an important role in the connection of trade bars which enhances the wayfinding for people. The placement of the buildings in the campus is such that the existing tree line has been retained. The waterway at the north end of the site is utilized for stormwater run-off management rather than connecting buildings directly to a storm sewer.

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Gathering Space_©Perkins&Will
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Trade Bar connected to Academic Building via glass-covered walkways_©Perkins&Will

The Techniques

The natural daylight permeating through the wall system is in collaboration with the excellent diffused daylighting techniques and is used throughout the interior spaces via floor-to-ceiling windows. Exposed MEP systems, exposed concrete columns, polished concrete floors, and exposed perforated metals are swapped with fancy interior finishes which possibly reduces the cost of the project wherever possible by leaving structure and systems exposed and giving an overall weighted finish. To reduce the load on mechanical systems, high-transparency glazing, ceramic-fritted glazing, and self-shading building orientation are proven to be technically beneficial. 

The project is set to revive renewable resources of energy as it has installations of solar PV system for electrical offset and a solar hot water system, condensate reclaim system, rainwater harvesting, and daylight harvesting. The building’s exterior including the cantilevers on either side is clad in CARAT Onyx fiber cement panels. In addition to it, 4mm thick aluminum composite material (ACM) panels, with a fire-resistant core, are clad on the exterior giving justice to the modernist façade. ACM has also been used at the surface of rainscreen systems. For the non-glazed portions of the facades, they chose fiber cement panels.

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ACM panels clad on exterior_©Perkins&Will
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Exposed concrete columns and polished concrete floors_©Perkins&Will

The durable, versatile, and aesthetic approach of Perkins and Will has earmarked the Collin College Technical Campus for the stunning development of the educational and architectural world as a whole, with a futuristic exposure. When seen from the highway or nearby places, it appears as a single volume clad in transparent and metallic finishes. Perkins and Will have won various prestigious awards for this project from organizations namely, Texas Society of Architects (2022)AIA Dallas (2021)TASB Exhibit of School Architecture Awards (2022)ENR Texas & Louisiana (2021), and Dallas Business Journal. From the modern façade to the overall spatial circulation, the structure has established itself as the visionary proposition of Perkins and Will.

References

  • Comley, M. (2022) Collin college technical campus, Perkins&Will. Available at: https://perkinswill.com/project/collin-college-technical-campus/ (Accessed: October 31, 2022).
  • Collin college (no date) Collin College Technical Campus – Collin College. Available at: https://www.collin.edu/campuses/technical/index.html (Accessed: October 31, 2022). 
  • Collin college (no date) Collin College Technical Campus – Collin College. Available at: https://www.collin.edu/campuses/technical/index.html (Accessed: October 31, 2022). 
Author

Faiza is an Architect, a Student of Urban & Regional Planning and an Architectural Blogger who has a keen interest in ongoing AEC trends. Filled with enthusiasm for exploring places, virtually or actually, she turns to writing to deliver her thoughts to the world with the perception of new ideas and patterns.

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