Ball State Center for the Environment
Building Type / Education
Location / Muncie, Indiana
Square Footage / 32,000 sq. ft.
Design Tools / Rhino /AutoCAD /Vray / Adobe Photoshop / Adobe Illustrator / Adobe InDesign / Physical Models
* Cripe Architects Design Competition 2nd Place Project Award
In a world where environmental awareness and concern is advancing, Ball State University is taking a lead by proposing the design and development of an environmental education and research center. This center will help begin a new era of technology for the University by enhancing building design through performance efficiency and modernization in materials and energy usage.
The design of the environmental center plays off of the interior street that the University has created between two campus streets, Petty and Riverside. Two rigid forms create an angled band that wraps itself around both TC and AJ, fusing them together and allowing circulation to flow linear along its two main circulation paths. The rigid form is contained within a double structured skin made of glazing and a sun screening louver system. The louvers run vertically along the building’s west and east façades and become horizontal along its horizontal planes allowing only diffused sunlight to enter the spaces throughout the day limiting the use of electric lighting. The screen allows users to experience different forms of space based on their reference angle to the screen.
The organization of the building is linear, with one path connecting AJ and TC internally along the second level, and the other circulation path linking McKinley to the Environmental Center and the second level interior street. Along the interior of the circulation paths are linear placed spaces to allow window access and daylighting to every room. A living machine is placed along this main path allowing pedestrians to observe its use as a biological wastewater treatment facility. Along its northern façade, an opening is punctured completely through the building, allowing pedestrians to circulate perpendicular to the interior street and through the building to other university buildings. Vegetative roof slabs are used, with the potential of reducing heating and cooling loads on the building, allow for an increased roof life span, and a reduction in storm water. Photovoltaic panels are placed along the roof slab, providing a small amount of the buildings electrical load, as well as serving as a research tool for professors and visiting scientist.
The materials used within the design respect those of the campus community, but still create identity within the building. The exterior skin creates an identity for the building by utilizing glass and aluminum louvers. The interior surfaces focus on becoming part of the university by utilizing limestone and brick. The Environmental Education Center will set a standard for future University buildings, and help make Ball State an environmentally responsible university.