Case Study James Eardly Student Center

Project Details
Project: James Eardly Student Center
Segment: Education
Location: Reno, Nevada
DESIGNER / ARCHITECT: Sheehan Van Woert Bigotti Architects

The grand scale of the James Eardley Student Center matches the majesty of the landscape surrounding the entire Truckee Meadows Community College campus in Reno, Nevada. The recently constructed building includes a two-story gathering area articulated with a vaulted roof, clerestory windows, exposed split-face concrete masonry column and exposed steel trusses. To balance scale and dimension, designers created a floor design that both complements the natural surroundings and proportions the space. Armstrong™ Premium EXELON Stonetex VCT (vinyl composition tile) allowed the design team to create a pattern that handsomely meets aesthetic goals and satisfies the need for cost efficiency.

The design challenge for architectural firm Sheehan Van Woert Bigotti Architects was to create a large gathering space on campus that managed to incorporate an inviting and comfortable atmosphere for congregation, studying and conversation. The Student Center, which serves as the campus student services facility, is the third major building design project the firm has completed for the community college. For the circulation spaces of the main student lounge and mezzanine areas, Premium Excelon Stonetex VCT is used in multiple, organic colors. The design was influenced by similar projects including the Perry Community Education Campus in Ohio and the Orland Park Village Center in Illinois. In all these applications, the floor plan breaks down the large scale of the main lounge space without overwhelming the space with busy patterns. Plus, it creates a design upgrade at a reasonable cost. These projects are tangible evidence of how the firm delivers on its philosophy to create architecture that makes a difference through exceptional service and design excellence. A design firm spokesperson says, "In all our educational projects, we look for opportunities to create unique compositions within a space. The scale of this project offered us the opportunity to do this on a large scale and make a big impression."

Premium Excelon Stonetex VCT is a true Armstrong original. The granite-like, monolithic visual and organic colors are represented in a non-directional tile. The naturally-inspired pattern has a more upscale look than base-grade vinyl composition tile and the stone-like accents create an architectural look. The sophisticated visual offered designers on this project an opportunity to creatively compose interiors with a contemporary yet non-trendy look.

A firm principal adds, "Premium Excelon Stonetex offered an opportunity to add scale and dimension to the large areas within the student center at a highly perceivable level. For this space, we selected five complementary colors that coordinate with the exposed masonry material and the interior color scheme." Earthy-colored Dusty Khaki, Pumice Stone, Stone White, Desert Dust and Terra Stone Premium Excelon Stonetex VCT tiles are used to create modular, geometric patterns. According to the firm principal, "Premium Excelon Stonetex met the cost constraints of the project while maintaining an aesthetic value." The modular nature helped designers achieve a repetition and order that supports the overall concept of the building architecture. The student center’s design, including the floor, has earned high grades from both faculty and students. A design firm principal adds, "We’ve heard positive feedback about the use of color and patterning in the main spaces, and in particular, how the facility plays a role in raising spirits on campus. The project exceeds expectations with respect to how the design details contribute to student and faculty pride in the college."

The busy student center is active seven days a week, requiring a floor that’s durable with good maintenance characteristics. Premium Excelon Stonetex VCT offers proven Premium EXCELON VCT performance, with color and design that are consistent throughout the tile. "Vinyl composition tile offered us the highest level of durability and wearability for the cost," states the design firm principal. In addition to very good durability, the tile is easy to install. Contactors also had to install the new flooring in a space that sits between two existing facilities that are not parallel. This added to the installation challenge, but was easily solved by careful workmanship from the installers, Spectra Flooring.