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University of South Alabama - Campus Master Plan


Architectural Standards Recommendations
Because of diverse programmatic requirements, any solution to a design problem is inherently unique. That solution also provides a designer with an opportunity to make an individual statement of his personal design philosophy. However, a careful consideration of the forms, colors, and detailing of existing structures need not be a limitation to creativity but can provide a rich, diverse palette, which can form the starting point of a design. The guidelines set forth in this section are not meant to deny individual expression but will allow those expressions to be integrated into an identifiable whole.
Building Forms
The majority of the buildings on the Campus are moderately scaled (usually three stories or less) with human scaled entries. This scale is appropriate for an academic environment with the exception of buildings housing special functions such as a gym or auditorium, which can take a more monumental appearance such as the Mitchell Center. Due to the nature of the International Style many of the buildings are rectilinear in shape having flat roofs, but this form necessarily does not have to be followed. Buildings should respond to its site features and ultimately should support the conceptual ideas of the Campus Master Plan. Future structures shall consider segregation of pedestrian and vehicular traffic and segregation of pedestrian and vehicular entries. Landscaping and orientation of future buildings shall enhance or clarify current traffic patterns.
Building Materials
The common building materials on Campus consist of concrete, glass and brick of various colors. Future additions and new structures shall attempt to match these choices. The predominantly International Style buildings should not necessarily be precedent in future designs, but new buildings should attempt to complement them through similar materials and scale. Building additions or renovations shall attempt to match existing buildings or create a harmonious connection between them. Use natural and low maintenance materials wherever possible. Materials like E.I.F.S. "Exterior Insulating Finish System" may be appropriate for eaves or gables however on other applications it can be a security problem and is often installed incorrectly. Stucco is a more durable and aesthetically pleasing material. Stucco or E.I.F.S. soffits and prefinished metal fascias are long lasting low maintenance products that should be used when appropriate. Roofs should be hipped or gabled to encourage positive drainage. Flat roofs are not recommended due to the high maintenance of this type, but it is realized that in larger buildings sloped roofs are not appropriate for budgetary reasons or scaling and proportion. A 30-year architectural grade shingle, masonry shingle or standing seam metal roof is preferred. It is recommended that the University provide a roofing consultant on future roofing projects to ensure proper installation.
Though selection of specific window types depends on functional requirements, substantial clues to appropriate materials, scale, forms and colors are found in the existing structures themselves. Often found in the earlier buildings are thin metal mullions and smooth spandrel panels separating large, single-pane windows. Later buildings typically had single or double pane windows with a brick rowlock course at the sills. Large pane windows and spandrel glass or panels should continue to be used in a creative and congruous manner such as seen in the Library addition.
It is very important for an institute of this size to keep proper documentation of all construction activity and building equipment. In addition to as-built drawings, a video on 8mm cassettes of the construction can be very useful in documenting potential problems and useful for renovations or restorations. The 8mm cassettes have a long shelf life and can be stored in a video library. Other documents such as warranties and guarantees shall be located in a central location and should be copied onto a media such as microfiche for preservations purposes. These documents can be very helpful, should a problem develop on an item such as a leaking roof that has a 25-year warranty.
As previously stated, the intent of the architectural standards is to promote harmonious and cohesive growth for all campus planning and building design. The responsibility falls on the designer and the University of South Alabama to make careful analysis of the program requirements and the surroundings into which the design will be placed. Too much emphasis cannot be placed upon the importance of responding and respecting existing detailing, colors, scale, codes, and form of the overall campus environment.

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Last date changed: January 14, 2013 12:22 PM