Story

Enriching the Academic Experience

Focus Area Higher Education

Unforgettable first impressions backed by substance

Although high school seniors and their parents fret about the intensely competitive college admissions process, it’s worth remembering that universities also face the daunting task of competing for the best and brightest students each year. In addition to quantitative criteria, students have intangible requirements: a feeling of connection, sense of belonging, and identification with the university’s brand. The campus experience too is a key factor in creating affinity and persuading prospective students that the university is a good fit. Its buildings and the sequence of spaces between them must make a lasting positive impression.

As a multidisciplinary architecture, design, and engineering firm, Page applies extensive expertise to academic institutions’ myriad, cyclical design and infrastructure challenges to help them create a seamless and memorable campus environment. From forward-thinking master plans that leverage the value of existing assets and guide future investments to fast-track renovations of departmental offices, Page has collaborated with university capital planning teams on projects across geographies, programs, scales and budgets.

Services

  • Academic
  • Architecture
  • Branding / Graphics
  • Engineering
  • Building Sciences
  • Interiors
  • Strategies / Analytics

C-C-COU! G-G-GAR! COU! GAR! GO COUGARS!

Football is practically a religion in Texas, and its rivalries are the stuff of legends. The stadium where these contests play out is an emblem of school spirit, so it needs to be bold and stand proud. TDECU Stadium at the University of Houston signals the institution’s passion for football and careful stewardship of its resources. The 40,000 seat stadium transformed the game day experience for fans and student athletes through improved facilities, new amenities, a range of seating options and dynamic sightlines.

A marching band in the school colors of red and white pass in front of the school stadium which also has red in its design.
© Slyworks Photography

Extending the brand identity in amenities

The design creatively applies a limited palette of simple materials to great effect. The brick base houses conditioned spaces and echoes adjacent campus buildings. Above this, the back of the stands are wrapped in the “Cougar Cage,” a permeable, patterned metal enclosure in the school colors which provides a unique identity for the NCAA Division I stadium. At the corners, red glass elements announce the points of entry.

A view of a packed open-air football stadium from one end goal to other with a vivid blue sky overhead.
© Slyworks Photography

The design anticipates a future expansion of 20,000 additional seats by incorporating necessary columns and structure. The total cost of the facility was $128M, or $3,000/seat, which is roughly half the cost of many top tier university stadiums.

Artful integration

A shared goal in the design process between Page, the University of Houston campus architect, the Dean of the School of Architecture, and School of Arts Faculty was engaging the history of open space on the campus. Dating back to a 1937 master plan, the link between landscape and architecture runs deep in the school’s legacy. For Page, this vast mixed-use structure of parking garage, School of Art and Sculpture, College of Architecture Advanced Materials Lab, Food Service and Parking office positioned the team to first use the lens of campus planner in keeping the original promise of connecting it with the campus.

Rendering of glassed-in studio spaces fronting a multi-tier parking garage.
© Page

The greatest benefit of the multipurpose parking garage is not an obvious one. Its significant footprint shapes adjacent student spaces. The interface between garage level 3 to building level 2 scales up the interior spaces to create two ‘super galleries’ that further link graduate and undergraduate School of Art populations through shared experiences. Additionally, the length of the garage was engineered to serve as a hard-working edge that passively captures extensive volumes of rainwater from the region’s seasonal storms.

Communication matters

New review spaces at The University of Texas School of Architecture reflect the school’s philosophy that both digital and analog forms of representation play essential roles in the design process. Set within an unremarkable existing building on campus, the raw industrial space belies its context. Classrooms line the building core and borrow natural light via floor-to-ceiling interior glazing. Massive 12’x6’9” monitors display details clearly and provide an immersive experience of animations.

Architecture school review space for student work, which consists of large panels on which materials are pinned
© Casey Dunn Photography

Along the window line is an open gallery for pin-ups. Five custom fabricated 8’x10’ panels pivot 180-degrees off the exterior wall to subdivide the long gallery into discrete review spaces with tackable surfaces on both sides. Individual panels can be positioned to screen the intense afternoon sun.

An abstract multimedia design runs along the length of a classroom wall.
© Casey Dunn Photography

A digitally fabricated feature wall designed by students in a recent studio course foreshadows the mission and intent of the space. Called “ONDA”, which is Spanish for electromagnetic wave, the installation organizes 10,000 MDF and HDPE plastic pieces into a sculpture that evokes the topography of the UT Austin campus.

By the numbers

  • 100+ UNIVERSITY SYSTEM PROJECTS
  • 80% REPEAT PAGE CLIENTS
  • #12 RANKED IN UNIVERSITY ARCHITECTURE GIANTS IN 2019 BY BD+C MAGAZINE

Testimonial

Designing an experience

Portrait of female Asian leader in white blouse and black sweater

“The stadium had to be a nexus. This is where tens of thousands of people experience the University of Houston campus in a very intense setting that creates a strong impression. I think when they leave a game, they will come away with a sense of a place that is vibrant, alive, and promising.”

Elaine Lee

Page Associate Principal / Design

School of Architecture Renovation and Review Spaces
Awards

  • Society of American Registered Architects (SARA) Design Award of Excellence
  • IIDA Texas-Oklahoma Chapter Design Award "Best In Show"

TDECU College Football Stadium
Awards

  • Houston Business Journal Landmark Award
  • AIA Nebraska Design Awards

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