Trinity River East Campus of Tarrant County College is part of a massive redevelopment of the river front and downtown areas of Fort Worth, TX. Designed by Bing Thom Architects the urban campus of the community college serves as an important facility for adult education for the area and reconnects the downtown to the waterfront. Daylighting, energy efficient design, sun shading, outdoor rooms, native landscaping, and natural ventilation all play important roles in the design of the campus.
Tarrant County College already had four healthy campuses, but decided to open another one in the downtown area. This new campus would serve the local population who had limited access to educational resources and serve as the new home for TCC’s nursing and allied health programs given the closer proximity to the downtown hospitals.
The campus shoots off from the downtown area and is composed of five buildings situated around an internal street, which leads down through a series of courtyards and outdoor spaces to the waterfront. This direct connection with the river provides brand new access to nature that the downtown area had yet to experience. On one side is the bustling downtown district and the other is a quiet and relaxing waterfront.
The buildings are clustered closely together to gain efficiencies through shared energy resources and mechanical systems. It also creates the feel of a mini city and is an extension of the adjacent urban district. Courtyards, gardens, and outdoor classrooms extend the facility’s useful space into the outdoors, while the regionally appropriate landscaping, fountains and shading devices help make the space comfortable even in the summer months. Inside, the buildings make use of solar passive design, shading, louvers, natural daylighting and ventilation to reduce energy use and keep the buildings from taking on too much heat from the sun.
Images © Nic Lehoux