Tinkham Veale University Center

1315 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30309
Ken Higa

Project Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Completion Date: 08/30/2014
Owner: Case Western Reserve University

Builder: Donley's

Builder Address: Cleveland, Ohio/216-524-6800

Architects Involved:
Jeff Stebar AIA / Ralph Johnson AIA

Engineers Involved:
Civil Engineer: KS Associates, 440-365-4730 Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomesetti, 312-596-2000 MEP Engineer: Affiliated Engineers, 312-212-6400

Additional Team:
Associate Architect: CBLH Design, Inc, Cleveland, OH, Tim Hunsiker AIA, thunsicker@cblhdesign.com

Project Description

Case Western Reserve University’s primary objective was to create a new University Center to bridge the physical and psychological boundaries that existed between two historical campuses. The selected site was a sliver of open space located in a prime location between campuses, easily accessible from the Case Quad, North Residential Village, South Campus and the future West Quad. The building location also had the distinction of being part of the University Circle District, home of several cultural institutions such as the Cleveland Museum of Art and Severance Symphony Hall.

With all the sites’ benefits, the central campus location also posed challenges due to the aging infrastructure. These included a two-story below grade parking structure, steam tunnel system, below grade electrical distribution, and service and parking ramps. The parking facility had to remain fully operational during construction, and there were significant limitations in modifying the post-tensioned cast-in-place concrete structure. The most difficult of the challenges was that the new building could not add any additional structural load to the existing parking structure.

The design solution for the Tinkham Veale University Center (affectionately known as “The Tink”) bundles 89,000 square feet in a two-story building that borders the east and north sides of the existing parking structure while creating a series of new student collaboration courtyards. The building minimizes its encroachment into the existing University amenities while creating a system of pathways and courtyards that connect building to building and indoors to outdoors, including the adjacent Freiburger Field. The “always open,” 24/7 hours for the University Center also made it essential to provide a variety of public spaces that would attract the surrounding community. The building is designed to accommodate multiple public facilities that are organized into three distinct categories: 1. Social and Cultural 2. Meeting and Event 3. Food and Beverage.

The northern wing of the facility was designed to enhance and support student engagement, organizations and student government. The professional student office and organization workspaces occupy the ground level of the facility allowing for greater interaction and collaboration. The second level is home to several student engagement entities including the Mather Women’s Center and the Inamori Center for Ethics, who provide support, education and events for both students and the public.

The new student center is a model of environmental stewardship through its design, construction and operation. The project exceeds LEED silver standards through the development of the site, water and energy efficiency, use of sustainable materials, and indoor environmental quality. It utilizes renewable energy strategies, daylight harvesting, natural ventilation, radiant heating and cooling, and chilled beam systems. An innovative glass curtain wall addresses solar heat-gain, and a sloping green roof, including photovoltaic panels, integrates the building with nature both visually and physically. Through the use of advanced techniques, enhanced system design and application of current technology and design thinking, the design minimizes the facilities impact on the local and global community.

Steven Litt of the The Cleveland Plain Dealer said it best, “When you walk through the building, you get a sense of lightness and frictionless flow. The architecture also tempts you with cozy nooks for studying, and with more public areas for eating and people-watching… where students can perch to see and be seen above the river of classmates…”