Architect Statement- Polshek Partnership Architects
It is a rare opportunity indeed to re-imagine the architecture of a college in a way that not only reinforces its time-honored mission, but also leads to a new way of teaching. With a new site on Highland Avenue – significantly placed adjacent to the axis of the Hurley Administration Building at the heart of the UNT campus – and a university administration and College of Business leadership committed to excellence, a new and exciting vision for the future of business education has emerged.
With a student body exceeding 5,600 undergraduate and graduate students, a growing population of area professionals studying at the school and a large faculty and administration, the school is in essence a small city. To organize all the necessary classrooms, lecture halls, computer labs and advising spaces into a single monolithic structure would have created a building of vast size – and thus strong identity – but little sense of place. To address the vast scale of the school, and to create a central and iconic gathering space where students, faculty and professionals could meet and interact, the project was reconceived as a series of discrete buildings surrounding a public square. A direct descendant of the Roman forum, this great public space reminds us that at the core of all business is human interaction.
Each building within this small urban complex maintains a material integrity that clearly identifies the individual structures, strongly links the college to the campus and its history, and helps bring a human scale to the city-like composition.
The university, the college and the design team are all committed to achieving the highest possible LEED rating for both the building and the landscape. Through innovative sun-control and light-control strategies, the use of sustainable and local materials and highly efficient building systems, the project will set the standard for sustainable design for the campus. The placement of the new project affects the smallest number of existing trees, and many new trees will be added. Use of grass will be limited to specific formal garden areas, while native plants that do not require heavy maintenance and watering will help create a more natural and sustainable landscape to the south of the building.
It is the goal of this project to embody in the architecture and landscape the principals and mission of the college and, in the process, to set the standard for future buildings on the UNT campus and throughout the world.