Pathways thru Buildings
Part of the story at the law school at the Fred Jones Manufacturing plant is that FSB had to compete or perhaps the term would re-compete for the project. This was a new field of teams that were each paired with firms with a greater national presence. FSB was partnered with TKA of Cambridge who had previous law school design experience as well as having repurposed a Ford Assembly Plant not as a law school but as an academic scientific research facility.
We collaboratively put a lot of thought into the repurposing of the Ford Assembly Plant in Oklahoma City. Studies of the site as presented in the previous post gave way to studying the integration of the space needs of the OCU School of Law into the skeletal volume of the Fred Jones Manufacturing plant. A critical piece of the puzzle that we tackled along with the assignment of space within the building was vertical circulation. A vertical circulation spine would not only organize the hierarchy of the floor plates but could be a unifying element linking functions, students and faculty.
Circulation or the pathways through structures and their spaces are a major organizing element to buildings. Not only do they link spaces and levels but they become part of the experience. Pathways define how things move through space whether its people, materials or work flow. So it becomes a functional element of how well a building works but it can also be a significant aesthetic element. In this regard, it becomes a part of how people experience the architecture. For a learning environment, however, it is also and importantly how people experience each other through encounters and either chance or more deliberate opportunities for interaction with colleagues.
3 schemes for a unifying and iconic opportunity for circulation were studied. Some expressed themselves internally but another expressed itself externally as well. The images of this post explore the first of those schemes.