The City of Norman consistently makes Money Magazine’s Top 100 Small Cities list. The city has a strategically placed civic complex that includes City Hall, the Municipal Library, City Planning, City Municipal Courts and the main Post office. The City of Norman is home to a large University and is also known for its art and music festivals as well as other leisure activities, sports and recreation. One of the largest music festivals Jazz in June held in Andrews Park directly adjacent to the northern edge of the civic complex. Another that has experienced exponential growth is the Norman Music Festival held on the downtown Main Street corridor directly adjacent to the civic center’s eastern edge. This renovated and revitalized Main Street area is also home to a growing art gallery, theatre, restaurant and residential community that sponsor a monthly 2nd Friday Art Walk.
Norman is also located in growth corridor along I-35 that is experiencing extraordinary development in an era of economic recession. Four years ago, in order to meet increasing needs, the metropolitan library proposed a bond issue to build a new facility. The new Library vote failed largely due to the intent to move the library from its current location in the City’s Civic Complex.
All of these factors led to the Graduate Studio Project – Reinventing Norman’s Civic Complex. The Studio focus is on regenerative architecture in the sense of not just net-zero energy but positive energy production and water catchment/treatment. The Graduate Studio utilized the Open Challenge Program as a vehicle to explore and promote these sustainability issues in an urban framework that promulgated the leadership role of municipal government and services, reinforcing the sense of place that can be accomplished through civic architecture.
After an intensive period of study and analysis that featured readings and student led presentations from Bacon, Jacobs, Lynch, Cullen and many others, the students were tasked with Master Planning the entire Civic Complex. The Master Plan had to address multiple issues including aggregating the individual buildings to share resources with regard to energy production and usage as well as water catchment and treatment. Additionally, the Civic Master Plan was required to strengthen the link to community festivals and events, and leverage its unique position to create not only a daytime presence but also a nighttime transition between events as well as creating a destination in its own right.
After the Civic Master Plan was developed, each student was required to further develop an individual building in the complex. The design development was used to test conceptual targets, respond to program, code, planned zoning, function, net-zero energy, LEED Platinum certification and water catchment that met all its individual and aggregate complex needs. Finally, the competition entry boards were designed to tell this story, with the visual display of quantitative information playing a key role in conveying energy and water data.
Status: Competition Entry
Location: Norman, Oklahoma
My Role: Individual project