- Design Architect : Juan Gabriel Moreno
- Clients : City Colleges of Chicago
- City : Chicago
- Country : United States
Text description provided by the architects. Rising from the transformed parking lot south of 76th Street, the new Manufacturing, Technology, and Engineering Center (MTEC) becomes a timeless addition to the Richard J Daley campus and sets the framework for a wider master plan. The project unifies the existing complex by creating a campus environment with engaging pathways and collaborative spaces throughout. The Daley College MTEC project speaks to issues larger than architecture; it is the embodiment of the community and seeks to revitalize this southwest Chicago neighborhood by creating a connective message that all are significant and welcome.
Daley College tasked JGMA with removing the negative stereotypes that exist in the workforce when pertaining to manufacturing careers. Often suggesting these careers as devoid of dignity and reserved typically for minority populations. The project reverses the misconception through a design focused on celebrating state-of-the-art manufacturing spaces and proves careers in this industry require tech and skills as advanced as any other. The design strategy utilizes building transparency to showcase machines, equipment, and products integral to the learning objectives of the colleges as well as provide a visual connection to the surrounding West Lawn community.
The seamless fluidity of the building’s form was inspired by the constant and linear flow of the manufacturing process. The building spans the main thoroughfare with a strong industrial bridge that links the south and north campus of Daley College. The transparency of the building provides a similar experience for even the casual passerby, by providing a look into the advanced technical nature of manufacturing today. The project challenges the latent stereotypes of a community college and alters the psychology of simply crossing the street to go to class. Through dynamic spatial organizations and site-responsive architecture, the MTEC provides students and staff a unique experience from the moment they walk into the building. The circulation spaces inside the building intentionally collide with seating areas, platforms, and alcoves to encourage students to congregate and participate in incidental learning between peers.
There is a combination of exterior and interior terraces for users to enjoy in the warm weather months. These green areas will facilitate the students’ and faculty’s interaction providing connections with nature and lead to increased cognitive function and wellness, as well as creating a more unified campus. As the MTEC is now the front door to the campus, a thorough analysis was conducted of the user experience with regards to security, wayfinding, and new learning opportunities. It was imperative that the new addition set up a framework for further transformation of the existing building while still celebrating its current legacy.
The unique exterior façade of the MTEC building phases one in a master plan to completely rebrand and re-clad the existing facilities to create one new energized campus. The new building will not only be a catalyst for growth and change within City Colleges of Chicago but also inspire the pursuit of manufacturing careers as a sophisticated and high-tech learning path.