Architectural Record wrote about the National Veterans Resource Center and broke down it’s various features! Read about the thought process behind its glass outside and curved wave of wood on the inside.
“The National Veteran Resource Center serves as a home for a broad range of veteran services—including counseling, which requires privacy—while drawing in civilian students and the public to attend events in its 750-seat auditorium or enjoy meals in its banquet space. The architects needed to create a large building that would occupy the width of a full city block and work on the urban scale while at the same time crafting a place that would engage people who wanted to grab a snack at a canteen or view art in a modestly sized gallery.
Set at a pivotal location between the school’s historic campus to the south and the city to the north, the 126,000-square-foot building— owned and operated by the university—is a new gateway between town and gown. To break down the bulk of the four-story box, SHoP split it in two: the firm wrapped the lower floors in clear glass to invite the public inside, and on the upper floors installed reflective glass studded with projecting aluminum fins to ensure privacy for the offices, conference rooms, and teaching spaces used by veterans and their families. By pushing the upper floors out past the lower ones, the architects could fashion colonnaded porticoes on three sides of the building’s base. “We wanted the upper portion to float like a cloud and reflect the sky,” says Christopher Sharples, a founding partner of SHoP. The vertical fins extend beyond the glass by 10, 12, 14, or 16 inches and bend at different angles—a strategy inspired in part by Isamu Noguchi’s Wind Catcher galvanized-steel sculptures from the 1980s—to animate the upper facade.”