- Structural:Haris Engineering
- Interactive Media:Second Story
- Design Principal:Bob Thompson
- Project Team:Eric Li, Caleb Mitchell, Susan Hargrave
- Country:United States
Text description provided by the architects. Designed to celebrate the legacy of past alumni and be the first stop for new inquiries about the University, the FordAlumni Center expresses a dynamic and forward looking environment while also allowing a link to the past throughan interactive interpretive center and a history library. A four-story, 60,000-square-foot building, the LEED-Goldstructure houses a large linear sky lit lobby and lounge, conference rooms and multi-purpose gathering spaces, aswell as office space for the University Foundation and other staff.
Programmed after construction began on a sub-surface parking structure beneath the building site, the Projectrequired carefully planning to be built atop that structural system. The below grade parking structure allowedsurface area surrounding both the Alumni Center and Arena to be utilized as gathering and event spaces rather tanfor surface parking, creating a dynamic and flexible event site.
The building takes many aesthetic clues from the adjacent arena, but does not mimic it. Rather, it is a directresponse to the program within and the experiential and climatic conditions of the site. The building volumes are aclear expression of the public, gallery, and office functions within. Clad in composite metal panels and metal ribbed siding, the facades also express the direct response to solar conditions of the site. Strong vertical and horizontal metal grilles and mesh screens are oriented appropriately for maximum sun control at the large expanses of glass which allow for the transparency into and out-of the structure.The skylight running through the building above the lobby and atrium allows soft interior natural light throughout theday and is a clear and bold element that helps to separate the public and more private programmatic spaces.
Interior circulation surrounds the atrium, and stairways and landings are easily identifiable and offer places for smallgatherings.The structure is connected to the university's central utilities plant. Operable windows allow users to have directcontrol of their interior environment.
The Alumni Center houses a great hall (the second largest on campus) adjacent to the Donald R. Barker landscapedcourtyard which is suitable for formal and informal gatherings for the entire university. The gardens contain stormwater planters constructed adjacent the building allowing users to participate in understanding how rainwater istreated. The Alumni Center is also used as a reception area for Arena activities and all of the shared outdoor plazaspaces are activated during Arena events.