Text description provided by the architects. The Opportunity Center for Employment and Education (OCEE) is a breakthrough project that brings employment and social services agencies together in a central location on a community college campus. This one-stop worksource center provides improved service delivery in the heart of Seattle’s north end. The purpose of the facility is to welcome people, giving visitors and users new to campus a clear sense of access. The building is programmatically open, airy and easy to find on the campus. Simple, clear signage facilitates wayfinding, helping users to navigate through the building.
The project is an expansion and renovation to the south end of an existing 1970s post-tensioned concrete building. The project’s lightweight steel frame “floats” over the older, heavier concrete structures, tying the buildings together both structurally and visually. The orientation of the building maximizes its exposure to north and south light, providing significant opportunities for daylighting interior spaces.
The existing campus is heavy, dense, inwardly-focused and lacking in color. In contrast, the materials and color palette on both the interior and exterior of the OCEE set up a clear juxtaposition with the gray concrete of the existing campus. The building’s green roof has transformed a formerly drab, expansive concrete plaza in the center of campus into a more inviting outdoor gathering space. The multi-level atrium stitches together old and new and provides an important amenity for the campus community: one of the only enclosed circulation and gathering spaces on campus.