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Sense of Place

Academic and Performing Arts Center, Central Piedmont Community College

University Business, Nov 2005

It's fitting that the central campus of CPCC, located seconds from downtown Charlotte, N.C., has an inviting front door.

Function: Multi-use facility with performing arts space (including a 1,000-seat theater), studios and classrooms, and a student life center.

Challenges: The mostly stucco campus buildings, dating back to the late 1960s and early 1970s, "made the college look institutional, rather than collegiate," says President Tony Zeiss. And thanks to southern U.S. humidity, outrageous maintenance costs included having to either paint or power wash the buildings annually. "That just underscored our decision," he explains. In addition, the most visible area of campus to the community was blighted and in need of new life.

Design Solutions: The 130,000- square-foot Academic and Performing Arts Center can't be missed as people travel away from downtown. "It's our signature building," says Zeiss, who is confident that "it sends a really beautiful, if not magnificent, signal to the community that this is a fine and highly respectable institution of higher education." As other campus buildings are renovated, they'll get a similar look.

Project Cost: $31 million

Completed: Fall 2005

Architect: Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, Charlotte



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