College campus design seeks to provide students and faculty with a comfortable and healthy environment which helps to increase productivity. The demands of higher education facilities have led to new design practices on campuses to concentrate on energy-efficient building practices, multipurpose buildings, and natural lighting.
Energy-Efficient Building Designs on Campuses
College campuses across America are seeking to decrease their usage of energy and water through energy-efficient building practices. These practices include spray foam insulation, insulating concrete forms, and green roofs.
Spray foam insulation is polyurethane foam that expands in the walls and ceiling areas of the campus to provide an airtight seal. Spray foam insulation protects college campuses from mold thanks to its moisture-proof barrier. The foam does not break down like other types of insulations, thus providing campuses a much longer life expectancy. Insulated concrete forms are water-resistant forms that withstand high winds and increase soundproofing of the building. Concrete is poured between the forms to create a strong wall. The R value of the walls on campuses can be further enhanced by gluing rigid foam insulation inside the forms. Finally, insulated concrete forms are easy to install and improve indoor air quality, air-tightness, and acoustic comfort.
Green roofs are created by covering the roofs with vegetation and plants, which offer many benefits. The vegetation on the roof stores rainwater and slowly release it back into the environment rather than sending rainwater into sewage systems. Green roofs typically double the life expectancy of the roof. A waterproof membrane is installed on the roof to protect the roof from the elements and increase the insulating ability of a roof. Finally, green roofs decrease air pollution.
Universities and colleges across America are embracing versatile buildings. Multipurpose buildings create collaborative workspaces designed to help student work together on team projects, informal lounge spaces for relaxation, and quiet areas intended for studying. Multipurpose buildings require the latest innovations in sound-proofing materials, storage designs, and flooring options. Soundproofing the walls and the ceilings of multipurpose facilities on college campuses are done using a variety of materials, including soundproofing
insulation, acoustic panels, acoustic foam, soundproofing floor underlayment, and acoustic coatings. Acoustic absorbing material softens the reverberation in a room by deflecting, dampening, and absorbing unwanted sounds in the room.
One of the most overlooked zones when designing multipurpose buildings is creating storage areas that are conducive quick transitions. The storage areas should be large enough to clear all tables, chairs, sofas, etc. from the main areas of the building to create open spaces for student functions. Storage rooms should include floating shelving units to maximize floor space.
There is a variety of flooring options available for multiuse spaces, including tile, linoleum, hardwood flooring, and carpeting. Vinyl, tile, and hardwood flooring are easy to clean and maintain; however, these solid surfaces can echo sounds. Carpeting absorbs sound and is softer underfoot; however, in common areas, wear and stains can occur.
Bring the Outdoors Inside College Buildings
Students spend hours sitting inside classrooms throughout the week. Incorporating outdoor elements like plants, stone, and wood create an environment conducive to learning and exploration. In addition to these materials, using smart glass technologies help to bring sunlight into interior spaces. Smart glass uses the latest technology to control the amount of sunlight entering buildings. Users can control the tint on the smart class with a simple touch of a button. On cloudy days, the tint can be decreased to allow more sunlight to enter the facility. Conversely, on bright days, the tint can be increased to help avoid glare on computer screens, smartphones, or tablets.
Incorporating stone and wood in building design creates beautiful areas, stimulate creativity, improve mood, and decrease stress levels naturally. Natural wood absorbs sounds, adds warmth, and creates interest in design. Stone is a low maintenance building material that provides a modern look while enhancing the aesthetics of a building.
Universities around the country are beginning to embrace the latest architectural designs to improve student performance. Energy-efficient designs and natural materials are used to create learning environments in campuses across America.
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