The Wang Campus Center, Davis Garage and related Alumnae Valley projects encompass most of the western half of the campus. They include a 50,000 square foot Campus Center, the renovation of the Alumnae Valley landscape, a 565 car parking garage, a 20,000 square foot building for the Campus Trade Shops, a 4,000 square foot building for the campus police, the renovation and re-design of the campus chilled water plant and the re-design of the Campus Central Utility Plant environs.
It has been argued that “no single building on the Wellesley campus can claim as much historical significance and general admiration as does the landscape itself, and the buildings best loved within the Wellesley community have aesthetic properties which blend with those of the landscape.” To take its place at Wellesley, the new campus center is derived from the values which are already embedded in the land. This extends beyond external appearance to the building’s internal structure—its essence and ordering. More than a “composition in conformity with topographic conditions;” it materializes the principles that have guided Wellesley since its inception. The new campus center celebrates and gives enduring form to those principles and values which have grounded the school and have contributed to its unique character. Like the un-owned landscape that hosts it, the campus center is a microcosm of the campus itself, allowing individuals to flourish and find their own way within the greater collective and building organization.
Notes on Sustainability
As evidenced in 2di and ii above, Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects has participated fully in LEED certified projects and the LEED process. However, at the Lulu Chow Wang Campus Center and the Alumnae Valley at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, the client elected not to seek LEED certification.
Rather than employing a point system, the College has viewed itself since its inception, and continues to view itself holistically as in and of the environment and as the steward of its wellbeing. Understanding its strengths and abilities as well as its impact on the environment, the College has, over the years, cared about making choices best for the institutions and for the environment and considers environmental sustainability to be an important component of its core mission.
The Campus Center, subsequently developed as part of an existing, highly integrated and broadly registered sustainable framework including innovative initiatives such as a cogeneration plant and chill water loop from the thermocline of Lake Waban. The Campus Center itself enjoys the benefits of efficient mechanical system and sophisticated controls. Proven strategies such as orientation, the extensive daylight and effective building enclosure assemblies were employed in the great success of the renewal of Alumnae Valley. By locating the building adjacent to the valley rather than in it, an entire wetland was restored and now modulates and filters the storm water runoff from the greater portion of the west campus. While the landscape is working it is also beautiful at all times of the year.
Through this comprehensive approach, the overall energy consumption at Wellesley College has remained steady over the past several years, even with the addition of the Campus Center which operates twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.