Oakton Community College Art, Science, Technology Building

Location: Skokie, Illinois
Program: Academic Building
Status: Complete, 2006
Photography: © Hedrich Blessing, Steve Hall
Selected Recognition: 2009 AIA Illinois Awards, Frank Lloyd Wright Honor Award. 2008 AIA Chicago, Distinguished Building Award. 2008 Chicago Building Congress Merit Award.

The growing demand for Computer and Manufacturing Technology and Art and Architecture were the driving force behind the new 59,533 square foot Art, Science and Technology Pavilion on the Ray Hartstein Campus of Oakton Community College (OCC). The design allows individual programs to co-exist within this single building yet have a unique identity.

The building addition reflects the internal circulation of the existing campus. It also completes the “street” concept, creating a conceptual switch back in a central student gathering area or “piazza”. The piazza addressed the college objective of having a facility that provided a high level of student interaction between fellow students as well as the faculty. Spaces along the path include Information Technology offices and support space, open computer labs, general classrooms, art and design studios, common areas, and a large multi purpose facility that serves the College and the community. The Technology Center contains laboratories for Classroom, Computer Lab, ELT Lab, Cisco Lab, LAN Lab, Engineering Design Classroom, CNC Lab, Manufacturing/Automation Lab, Architecture Studio, Painting and Drawing Studio, and Graphic Design Lab.

With a grant from the State of Illinois Green Technology, various sustainable strategies were provided, including an raised access floor system for air distribution. This reduces the project’s impact on the environment, reduces energy consumption, and provides a more comfortable environment for the students and faculty. The raised access floor system is also used for routing power and data throughout the addition, which provides for ease of future changes and maintenance of the systems. This technology driven building design has created a heart for this Community College in suburban Chicago. The building addition to this single building campus provides the College with an identity in the competitive higher education environment.