Visually stunning, energy efficient, and cost effective academic facilities
over 2.5 million sfvalued at over$600 million
Fentress Architects is guided by the humanistic ideals that a building must work well for its users and speak of and to its culture and community. Given our humanistic mission and collaborative approach, it is natural for Fentress to excel in the creation of architecture for academic institutions where multi-tiered client teams and complex user groups are driven by both pedagogical and economic objectives.
Fentress Architects has long been an active participant in the field of higher education. From winning our first academic client in 1990 to a long list of collaborative teaching appointments and the 2011 launch of Fentress Global Challenge–our annual international student competition–we are continuing to grow with the students, researchers, faculty, staff, and institutions we serve.
— H. Michael Smith AIA, LEED AP
Every year tens of thousands of students, faculty, researchers, and staff use academic institutions designed by Fentress Architects. The firm’s portfolio of higher education projects has garnered over 30 honors and awards including:
- Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, American Architecture Award, Chicago Athenaeum, 2016
- University of California, Irvine - Humanities Gateway, 1st Place, Best Public Building $25-50M, Design Build Institute of America, 2010
- University of Colorado Mathematics Building including the Gemmill Engineering Library, Citation Award, AIA National & American Association of School Administrators and the Council of Educational Facility Planners International, 1993
- University of Colorado Denver, Research 2, Honorable Mention Award in Design/Delivery Process Innovation Using Building Information Modeling (BIM), AIA National, 2009
After reviewing project submissions on hundreds of terrific new construction and renovation projects, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Research 2 was rated as one of the most imaginative, unique, innovative and/or dynamic projects in Colorado, thereby winning the Building of America Award.
— Construction Communications Magazine, 2008
At Fentress Architects, we are experts at staying focused on client objectives, collaborating with complex project teams, and developing efficient, effective, flexible, and innovative spaces for learning, research, and teaching. Our portfolio is both deep and diverse as it comprises classrooms, lecture halls, auditoriums, and faculty and administration offices as well as teaching and research laboratories, performance venues, residence halls, libraries, and academic success buildings.
Often a single building or set of buildings must achieve disparate goals—be them architectural or programmatic. For example, the architecture of the Humanities Gateway at University of California, Irvine needed to underpin two architectural sensibilities: the traditional, historical context of the overall campus with the creative, contemplative nature of the College of Humanities. Fentress’ competition-winning, Janus-faced design solution enables the building to project contrastingly different fronts utilizing a cohesive palette of materials in a manner that also helped achieve USGBC’s LEED-Platinum rating.
Skyline Community College, part of the San Mateo County Community College District, sought to co-locate a variety of program elements within an architecturally-unified, welcoming front door with the addition of two new buildings: a Student Union and Science Annex. These buildings were among the first completed under the design-build provisions of California’s Education Code 81700. In addition to significantly reducing the construction schedule and overall project budget, this procurement method also allowed for enhanced partnership and co-creation between the design-build team and college faculty, staff, and student representatives.
The Fentress Architects design team did an extraordinary job on this multiple building, design-build project. The addition of a new Student Union and Science Annex has enhanced the dynamics of our campus both in their contribution to the instructional mission, as well as overall campus environmental life. Moreover, the project was completed 28 percent above Title 24, making these two buildings ‘state of the art,’ sustainable, and environmentally sound.
— Jose D. Nuñez, Vice Chancellor, Facilities Planning, Maintenance & Operations, San Mateo Community College District
Teaching and Learning
Higher education, like every other industry and segment of the economy, is affected by generational evolution. In academia, this evolution affects everything from enrollment to student demographics and services, curriculum content and means of delivery, fundraising methods and sources, and even environmental practices. Just as institutions must respond to these affects, so too must architecture. Projects like the University of Colorado Mathematics Building including the Gemmill Engineering Library have adapted to the demands for interactive curricula, interdisciplinary collaboration, individual contemplation, and community engagement with relative ease. In fact, since being built, the library’s extensive collection has largely been digitized and the print materials that remain have been put on moveable stacks. This change freed up significant floor space for the expansion of group work and silent study areas, which benefit equally, if not more, from the large picture windows that line the space and bathe it in natural daylight.
University Laboratory and Research
The need for highly flexible, efficient, and adaptable space is paramount for university laboratory and research facilities. In fact, all wet and core laboratory space at Research 1 North & South at UCD Anschutz is prototypical in nature so that almost any research program can be accommodated. Adjoining support space can also be easily tailored to meet the needs of individual researchers and disciplines.
We are a community of the inquisitive… And while our minds are our greatest tools, our environment must support and nurture. The microenvironment of our facilities must be structured while creative; open yet secure; utilitarian as well as pleasing. As an institution, we could not be more pleased with the solution. Through interaction with the research community, programmatic needs were balanced with building scale. Clever use of enclosure materials resulted in a light and layer façade; clean, modern and warm. As the design cornerstone for the research zone, our vision has been well represented.
– Ron Rasmussen, Project Manager, University of Colorado Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus
Wellness, Safety, and Sustainability
Fentress Architects is committed to creating environments that are safe, accessible, healthy, inspiring, and make positive contributions to the campus community. China Artist Academy in Pearl River Delta, China is a seven-story, multi-purpose building where artists live, work, create, and learn. In support of student wellness and creativity, it features multiple outdoor amenities including sculpture gardens, outdoor studios, and spaces for formal and informal gatherings.
While designing the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, Fentress sought insight from the University of California, San Diego Cognitive Sciences Department into the mechanisms that encourage human interaction. Deliberate circulation paths to produce impromptu encounters, transparent walls to showcase internal activities, and a variety of break room and public space configurations in which different people can feel at ease are examples of how architecture can influence these mechanisms to occur. Additionally, as a LEED Gold-rated building, the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine promotes alternative transportation and public transit, features a pedestrian bridge that was built to promote the preservation of the site’s restored landscape, and has operable windows and shading devices that enhance energy efficiency. All of these features and more work in concert to support environmental and human wellness.
Openness, seeing the outdoors, natural light, all of these things are fuzzy, as in they are hard to measure. But they’re there! Obviously people are affected by their environment, and being in a place that is architecturally striking and inviting has an impact on how people feel about the workplace and how they behave… [This space] excites the imagination!
– Dr. Lawerence Goldstein, PhD, UCSD School of Medicine Director and UCSD Stem Cell Program Scientific Director, Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine
Fentress Architects proudly supports the following industry association:
Learn more about our higher education capabilities, contact:
H. Michael Smith AIA, LEED AP
Principal, Science and Technology Practice Leader