The University of New Hampshire needed a second-story addition to its single-story, 3,600 square foot telecommunications service building at the heart of a busy university campus. Oak Point Associates was asked to make the addition welcoming, but very few people passing by would need to enter the building (it is by appointment only). This addition/renovation project challenged the design team to creatively balance the need for occupant privacy with a very public façade that would front a pedestrian walkway (Demeritt Way) at the center of campus.
The charge was further complicated by the need to keep the existing ground floor occupied and operational while the second story was constructed above the computer servers that are the communications hub for the entire campus. Furthermore, research determined that the existing one-story building was constructed on piles; so not only did the design solution need to be erected quickly, the addition also had to be lightweight.
A single-component insulated metal wall panel was both light and quick to install. Taking cues from expeditious tilt-up construction methods, the wall panels were envisioned as a single span from top to bottom. A variegated color scheme was used to create visual interest, and shadow-casting fins were added to keep the eyes moving quickly across the staccato rhythm of the facade. To avoid expensive foundation work, the stair connecting the two stories, which fell outside the existing footprint, was hung from the roof framing.
The 3,800 square foot addition was constructed in 2020 and included new mechanical, electrical and fire protection systems for the second floor.