Construction Zone: New Construction

Jan. 1, 2007
Projects at the University of Southern California; Augusta State University; and St. Croix Lutheran High School

Park it

The University of Southern California recently added a $20 million, 370,669-square-foot parking structure to service the Galen Center, a sports and cultural events facility. Situated near the heart of downtown Los Angeles and immediately adjacent to the main campus, where parking is limited, the structure also is accessible to patrons of the adjacent Radisson Hotel and nearby restaurants.

The Exposition Parking Structure accommodates 1,200 cars on eight levels and is accessible by three elevators. It is composed of concrete moment framing with extensive precast and brick facades. The structure includes security and access-control systems.

Challenges included maintaining access to nearby businesses and working adjacent to the Galen Center, which also was under construction.

AC Martin Partners Inc. (Los Angeles) served as the project architect. The builder was McCarthy (Newport Beach, Calif.)

Activity crossroads

The two-story Jaguar Student Activities Center (JSAC) at Augusta State University, Ga., is an addition to the Reese library. An atrium “street” with transparent glass at two ends connects the library to the new building and serves as a dual entry for both projects. The atrium, lighted with clerestory windows, functions as a cyber cafe.

The first floor of the JSAC building includes a kitchen, dining area, food court, formal ballroom/banquet hall, student activities offices and study areas. The second floor includes a fitness center, game room, TV lounges, club meeting rooms, student government offices, campus newspaper and magazine offices, and additional study areas.

The cyber cafe/atrium street features an inviting public staircase leading to a balcony that accesses the game room and fitness center. Informal study nooks are situated along the building's main public face to take advantage of the large windows and views of the campus.

The JSAC was the last major construction project in a 10-year master plan for the university's main Walton Way campus. The plan is aimed at making the campus more pedestrian-friendly.

The JSAC was designed collaboratively by 2KM Architects, Inc. (Augusta, Ga.) and Lord, Aeck and Sargent (Atlanta).

Project specs

Start: Winter 2005

Completion: Summer 2006

Project area: 48,000 sq. ft.

Cost: $11.1 million

Spiritual motif

St. Croix Lutheran High School Chapel is a 6,400-square-foot structure that provides an intimate setting for small groups and communal spaces for up to 500. The school uses the chapel for daily worship, performances and music lessons, making acoustics an important part of the design.

The chapel's form reflects the beliefs of the school community in many ways. One of the most prominent design features is a set of three curved walls placed one behind the other to represent the Trinity. The walls serve as symbols, as well as practical shields to protect the space from intense afternoon sunlight. A T-shaped opening is set in each of these walls, framing a metal cross affixed to the exterior of the outermost wall. The result is a contrast of light and dark, solid and void against the openings and in the curved walls, creating both a central focal point and emphasizing the importance of the cross.

The connection of light and space continues throughout the chapel. A light scoop at the entrance to the sanctuary announces one's arrival into a space of importance through a change in height, as well as a progression of light. A second scoop over the alter naturally highlights the central altar platform.

On either side of the building, clerestory windows cap steel-and-glass curtainwalls with copper fins that modulate the incoming sunlight. Each window at the sidewalls is angled, as are the coffers above the space frame, to direct and control sound. Padding behind the curved copper walls helps absorb unnecessary reverberation.

The architect is Kodet Architectural Group (Minneapolis).

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