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Haverford College’s VCAM building wins 2018 AIA CAE Education Facility Design Award

Author: Amy Nash

Haverford College’s Visual Culture, Arts, and Media (VCAM) building has received an Education Facility Design Award of Excellence from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE). The award honors cutting-edge projects that represent exemplary practice in five key areas of educational facility design: enhancing the client’s educational program; balancing function with aesthetics; establishing a connection with the environment; respecting the surrounding community; demonstrating high-level planning in the design process; and integrating sustainability in a holistic fashion.

Haverford College’s VCAM building provides students, faculty, staff, and the wider community with a new, highly flexible, 24/7 learning environment of intersecting spaces designed for interpreting and making visual media. Located in a converted 1900 gym, the facility fronts the historic Founders Green in the center of campus. Classrooms, labs, offices, and presentation spaces encourage trans-disciplinary collaboration and experimentation in digital media, film, 3D fabrication, and material culture. VCAM represents an intersection of the physical and the curricular in which modes of seeing, understanding, and remaking the world are activated in productive combinations. The center serves as a setting where students from different disciplines can work together and engage in social dialogue and hands-on production. The VCAM building includes exhibition and presentation spaces where students can share their work.

The jurors described the VCAM building as “inherently about connection,” adding, “It has a spatial richness that, while inserting a new series of program spaces within a historic building, retains the experience of a single unified space.”

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