Renovations and Additions to Richland College
Richardson, Texas

The Dallas County Community College District hired Booziotis and Company Architects to design a building that would house individual portions of the registration process into one common area on one floor, while housing the computer labs and classrooms for their popular Continuing Education and Multimedia programs on another floor. It was envisioned that this building would become the "front door" to the campus while respecting the existing architectural style.

Richland College previously housed the numerous components of their registration process in a number of buildings that overlook the central water feature of the campus. Each of the buildings is connected through outdoor covered walks that facilitate a sense of interaction with nature. The college wanted to add a building to the southwest corner of the complex that would emphasize that interaction, while providing an entry to the campus. This entry needed to be easily accessible to first time students and those enrolled in the Continuing Education program who attend for specific computer training courses.

Booziotis and Company Architects provided the college a building that is
designed as two parallel buildings with an enclosed mall between. The orientation of the buildings rotates the perspective of the visitor ninety degrees from the rest of the campus to direct views through the enclosed mall toward
the pristine setting of a lake. The design borrows the element of the concrete T-column from the campus and elongates its dimension to create an interior space with considerably higher ceilings. The high ceilings allow clear viewing of instructional material in the second floor computer laboratories, as well as a grander sense of space in the first floor Student Intake Center. An exterior walkway, culminating in a circular platform overlooking the lake, connects the new building to the existing campus, while adjusting the floor level to be above the one hundred-year flood plain. Lounges at either end of the second floor provide opportunities to overlook the central space and see directly through the building to the grand entrance at one end or the lushly treated lake at the other.

The successful conclusion of this building required a commitment to the final vision by Richland College and the Dallas County Community College District. The original master plan included enclosing open areas between existing buildings to conserve available funding. To achieve the final design, the college allowed Booziotis and Company Architects to revise the master plan and re-study the program. Once the plan for the "one-stop" registration center was realized, the college and the district worked together to insure its success. The commitment to design included the acceptance of unique lighting fixtures proposed by the architects. These fixtures included lighting the central space with "mirrors" hung from the ceiling to diffuse light from focused lamps mounted on the side walls to provide a soft outdoor quality to the light for queuing spaces on the first floor. Suspended fixtures in high-ceilinged offices and classrooms provide diffused light to facilitate working on the computer without sacrificing lighting levels required for reading and writing. To add natural light to the building, a system of clerestories and a central skylight running the length of the enclosed mall were incorporated into the design. At each end of the skylight a "vertical lantern" is created by randomly placed colored LED light-bars surrounded by a patterned fritted glass enclosure. These lights are computer controlled and can be programmed to change colors as the college desires. It results in a striking entrance that can respond to the emotional needs of the college.

The final result of this commitment from the college and the district to a high level of design has manifested itself in a building that attracts and inspires students to reach beyond their comfort zone and into that realm where most only dare dream.