In March 2009, Boora Architects was commissioned to lead a programming study for a new teaching and learning building on the HMC campus. The goal of this study was to produce a clear statement of space needs and a vision for a new building reflective of the current and future needs of faculty and students.
The Program (or, defined space needs), for the new building was developed, reviewed and refined via an open, collaborative process involving HMC faculty, students, staff and administration. Boora's design team facilitated 21 meetings on campus, including meetings with the 24-member Teaching and Learning Center Program Committee (TLPC), the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC), the Department Chairs Committee (DCC), faculty from all departments, the President's Cabinet, the Physical Planning and Campus Planning Committee of the Board of Trustees, and the full Board of Trustees.
Additionally, seven all-campus forums were hosted in order to give the larger community a chance to see progress and offer input. Several of these meetings focused on specific topics, such as technology, flexibility and sustainability, while others were open to all concerns. In addition to formal meetings and work sessions, Boora toured instructional spaces with faculty and observed classes to better understand faculty-student interaction.
The final Program document, published in May 2009, outlines a 70,000 square foot building that is destined to become the academic and social heart of campus. Ample space is provided for instruction, socializing, artistic learning and performances, and formal and informal meetings, as well as for faculty offices. Most importantly, this building demonstrates the high priority HMC places on teaching.
The architectural language of campus consists of three primary properties—a balance of vertical and horizontal elements, repetition of the grid and concrete block, and a use of pattern (i.e., the beloved "Wart").
The new building is designed to evoke the fundamental principles of these architectural characteristics and, particularly on the exterior façade, to pay homage to the "Wart." Additionally, plans are in development to preserve and creatively display within the new building some of the "Warts" from Thomas-Garrett Hall.