Project: Casper College + UW Student Union | Casper WY
Firm: DLR Group | Denver CO
For Casper College and the University of Wyoming, great design meant creating a bright, open and inviting new “gateway” for each. This gateway would serve as a place of meaningful and memorable connection and support for students, teachers and staff; a bridge to transverse the unique hillside site unifying Casper College’s upper and lower campuses, and a place to connect to the rest of the world. The new gateway has been achieved in part by designing an axis through the Student Union building directing circulation flows across and throughout the space. An interior 4-story communicating stair with both interior and exterior views of the space and campus from every level provides a dynamic wayfinding tool for easily understanding and navigating the campus. Expanses of windows provide daylighting and transparency throughout and create an inviting, socially active space for all. An open and efficient “one-stop” student services center, along with other flexible and technology rich student life spaces such as housing, student government, administration, instruction, dining, bookstore, lounge and recreation support a variety of student needs, while a distance learning outreach center connects the College and the University of Wyoming’s own satellite center to the rest of the world. This design reaches beyond connectivity to provide a more healthy and sustainable environment by incorporating items such as local and recycled materials, water saving features, low mercury lighting, low VOC products, high-efficiency HVAC units and an extremely efficient building envelope design.
An additional layer of complexity for this project was supporting the needs and brands of two different client entities, Casper College and the University of Wyoming, in the same facility. Neither entity wanted their school colors to dominate the interior palette, but the outcome still had to support their colors and separate brand identities. Through workshop sessions with stakeholders from both Casper and UW, our designers were able to present a variety of product choices from Shaw Contract Group playing off color choices and textures that related back not only to each client’s brand, but also to that unique region of the country. Working with our designers, the stakeholders agreed on a warm and inviting scheme with a variety of color tones reflecting the cultural character of the local area, as well as subtle references to their own colors and brand. This was achieved through the use of 18”x36” planks from the On the Edge Collection. The linear aspect of these carpet choices also work to reinforce the datum of the building and communicates its unique angle across the floor plate.