Architecturally, CAM’s faceted green tile-like wrapper holds plenty of clarity with glass lined walls on the interior – a modern high tech corporate look. But from the outside those facets are set against orange tan brick and cue this new addition is an extension of the old art-deco era and bricked South High School that operated from 1931 to 1988.
It is the adaptive reuse element that makes the CAM a successful building project according to Bob Askerlund, assistant vice president of Facilities Services. Some of the links to the past are not so evident. Skeletal remains of the old gym and pool roof structures were reused and modified for seismic upgrades for meeting current code requirements.
“In 1989, we did our first renovation of the building and to be able to reuse the existing gymnasium and pools and convert them into the spaces you see is a pretty major undertaking and well done,” says Askerlund.
Those spaces became the portion of CAM that now houses the Multi-Purpose Room, the library, and film production studios.
“Ironically, the heights we had worked out well for some two-story and high bay space for the studios. We weren’t required to rebuild a lot of that structurally. The skeleton is there and serves us well today,” says Askerlund.
Along the halls of the old South High, SLCC’s renovations have kept the building’s unique colorful tiles. Large windows illuminate most classrooms. Likewise, CAM’s perimeter classrooms feature large windows, and for those on the interior, large glass vision panels to the corridors.
CAM’s new main entrance, now facing east, offers the first initial impression of this bridge between the 20th and 21st century buildings.
“As you look at that new entrance, as you come from the east, you’ll see this concave glass façade. And we left it glass so hopefully you can look through and see that original exterior of the old buildings, the old bricks,” says Malin Francis, master planning coordinator for SLCC. “[The new entry will] subliminally say that same force is still there, that original structure is going to always remain regardless of putting a new face on it.”
The east entry has reception and gatherings on one side and a permanent art gallery on the other, according to Askerlund, “plus an open seating area for people to kind of gather as they go into the building.”
The new entry terminates the north end of the “main street” corridor, or traffic spine, of CAM that connects all the way through the building to the south entrance.
Transparency is a design element for even the boiler room portion of the building, along the east side of CAM, south of the main east entry approach. Wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling exterior thermal glazing unveils the colored network of piping and equipment inside.