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With a student ratio of 16:1, and an average class size hovering at 30 individuals, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke can instruct students on a highly personalized basis. That guidance is not restricted to the curriculum. The floor pattern in the hallways of the newly renovated Oxendine Science Building helps reinforce wayfinding in corridors leading to student classrooms, laboratories and faculty offices. Four colors of Armstrong™ Standard Excelon Imperial Texture VCT (vinyl composition tile) create the attractive and functional design in these spaces.
In August 2004, the renovated Herbert G. Oxendine Science Building, the biggest construction project in the campus’s history, reopened its doors with a stunning new exterior and $17 million in interior renovations that include a new wing with laboratories. The structure is the first building most visitors see on the campus of UNC Pembroke. Inside those proverbial hallowed halls of higher education, undergraduate level math and science students are subjected to a rigorous curriculum. Everyone knows that the mental acuity needed to succeed in these fields requires brilliance, so why should finding the classrooms also be a brain drain? That’s why designers at BJAC—Brown Jurkowski Architectural Collaborative— worked with University facilities personnel to create an interior that is both aesthetic and helps direct building occupants to classrooms and offices. They selected Armstrong™ Standard Excelon Imperial Texture VCT as an integral part of the overall design concept. At UNC Pembroke, students are challenged by the complexity of their courses, but at least it’s easy for them to navigate the hallways of their facility.
BJAC is a southeast architectural and design firm that plans and designs educational environments ranging from traditional K-20 facilities, plus other commercial facilities. Their approach emphasizes the user’s perspective by focusing on creating spaces that facilitate learning and inspire discovery. About the choice of Standard Excelon Imperial Texture VCT for the UNC Pembroke project, Linda Kulka, BJAC director of interior design, says, “The University was used to maintaining VCT and had a tight budget. They wanted big design impact within an economical budget. We have a good history with Armstrong VCT, so we knew we could create the dynamic look we were after with Standard Excelon Imperial Texture colors, plus stay within the client’s budget.” Standard Excelon Imperial Texture VCT has been used in millions of square feet for similar spaces for decades. The proven performer is routinely refreshed in a broad range of contemporary and traditional colors in neutrals, accents and midtones for design flexibility. The through pattern color and design last the life of the floor, making this product an excellent value. Shelter White, Lichen Green, Gentian Blue and Classic Black provide the interchanging floor field, inset and border colors. Kulka explains, “The background color changes between a major circulation corridor and a secondary corridor that leads to faculty office suites. The corridor system is a little confusing, so we used color to create patterns that relate to decision points and special destinations.”
The designers at BJAC balanced the floor design with other architectural elements within the complex structure. Many corridors intersect throughout the facility. There are also several ceiling features that presented an intriguing design challenge. Kulka says, “There are floating wood ceilings with linear pendant lights that slash across them. Ceiling bulkheads also break up the ceiling and change the lighting patterns, so we wanted the floor pattern to match those features.” The design team met with the general contractor contract manager, Suitt Construction Company, to determine pattern breaks. “We modified the pattern in places to ensure an excellent installation that would be easy to install, and that everyone would be happy with,” states Kulka.
The University is pleased with the look, performance and maintenance of their new floors. University Chancellor Meadows says, “UNC Pembroke is one of the most attractive campuses in the United States. Our students and faculty deserve it. So do our alumni and friends.” BJAC designers stand behind choosing Armstrong VCT for this project, because the product fulfills the firm’s mission statement to design environments that nourish discovery, learning and healing, and provide solutions that are functional, efficient and enduring.