As the gateway to Oakton Community College, the Margaret Burke Lee Science and Health Careers Center houses a new breed of interactive science spaces, celebrates the site natural highlights, and showcases sustainable advances.
The tiered composition reduces the building footprint, maintains passages into the campus, and shelters an outdoor plaza. Student study spaces and offices are situated for optimal views of the lake to the west, while corridors and classrooms exhibit the forest to the south. Piers raise the facility seven-and-a-half feet above ground in response to the flood hazard zone.
The first floor has an airy diagonal passage that displays the plaza and lake from the student study spaces and faculty offices. The remainder of this level houses physical science classrooms and labs.
The second floor, dedicated to health professions, has simulation, practice, and computer labs organized around a central spine. The west end contains two classrooms that frame a student study center. These spaces extend over the plaza.
A cantilevered glass corridor surrounds the third floor science spaces. Again, the student study space extends over the plaza and showcases the lake. Unique octagonal biology labs support collaborative learning, while triangular nooks serve as student breakout space.
The Lee Center, Oakton Community College’s first LEED Gold certified facility, showcases sustainable advances:
- High-performance technologies: fully-automated exterior ventilated blind system, sunshade with integrated photovoltaic panels, energy recovery ventilator
- Small footprint: only ten percent of the building touches the ground
- Energy savings on display: students and community members can consult an on-line dashboard to monitor savings from solar panels
- Biomimicry: vein pattern of an oak leaf (the college symbol) inspired design of steel structure
- Land use: working with an arborist and biology faculty, design team created a “safe zone” below the tree drip line, then extended it 20 feet to protect soil and roots
- Insulated double floor slabs with radiant heat conserve energy and increase room comfort
- Compensatory water storage: retention area beneath building holds flood water
- Smart massing: larger-on-top composition shades the building, reduces footprint, and creates gateway to campus
- Predicted EUI in kBtu/sf/yr excluding on-site renewable energy contribution: 62 kBtu/sf/yr
- Predicted EUI in kBtu/sf/yr including on-site renewable energy contribution: 41 kBtu/sf/yr
- Predicted % regional energy reduction per Energy Star Target Finder: 66%
Energy modeling and daylighting studies helped achieve advanced solar shading, highlighted by a self-shading facade:
- Horizontal sunshade with integrated photovoltaics overhangs third floor
- Forward projecting volume shades outdoor plaza and prevents sunlight from directly hitting first floor lobby
- During winter, south facade welcomes sunlight to help warm the building
- LED lighting, daylight sensors, occupant sensors
- Energy recovery ventilator captures lab exhaust air, then uses it to heat or cool fresh air coming into the facility
- EcoSpace Low-Rise Elevator uses about 50% the energy of a conventional traction elevator and about 33% of a hydraulic elevator
The facility was built over an existing parking lot to preserve natural areas. Overall, the project gave up approximately 200 parking spaces and associated asphalt surfaces and replaced it with the elevated building and bioswales.
Walk score: 55
Transit score: 30
- Public transit arrives at campus Monday through Saturday
- Campus located in the middle of a forest preserve and adjacent to major bike trail
- 33-minute walk to community downtown
- 9-minute bicycle ride to downtown