Sheila Johnson Design Center
The 25,000-square-foot Sheila Johnson Design Center is a thoroughly modern facility housed in a building that recalls the college’s historic dairy barn. The center was the brainchild of former President Ray Cross who envisioned the barn’s transformation. The silhouette of the former dairy barn is now framed in steel and glass to capture the ideal northern light. In September of 2007, the college hired internationally acclaimed architects, Perkins Eastman, to design a home for new programs in architecture and interior design and to create a dynamic new entrance to the Morrisville campus.
Green features have been incorporated throughout, down to the water-based finish on the wood. The building is awaiting LEED (Leadership in Energy and the Environmental Design) gold certification, which means it’s an environmentally sustainable center from the materials from which it is made, and materials, methods used to construct it, and the systems that heat and cool it. Sustainable elements include low VOC-(Volatile Organic Compound) emitting interior paints and finishes, and Energy Star 50-year certified architectural shingles on the roof.
Less visible cutting-edge sustainable elements incorporated in its design are geothermal heat pump wells for heating and cooling, energy efficient user-controlled lighting, indoor air quality monitoring, insulated low E glass with argon filling at the north end to increase insulation, and low energy consumption and energy-efficient HVAC (heating, ventilation, air-conditioning) controls.
The commanding building welcomes visitors with a dramatic vaulted and double-height entrance atrium and a gallery that displays students' work. Alluring elements include dramatic arches, interlocking spaces and a double-height studio, a mezzanine-level studio suspended above the second floor, and four studios that envelop students in vast space and light.
A wood shop where students build small-scale models of wood buildings and fabricate shelter projects for class, and a digital production and photo area soon to be equipped with universal laser cutter and rapid prototyping machines, are cutting-edge elements that further add to the 21st century charm of the environment.Map view of the Sheila Johnson Design Center