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In our efforts to meet the spatial and experiential needs of Drexel’s entrepreneurship program, our proposal for Drexel’s new 85,400 SF School of Innovation is one that enhances the creative journey of innovation and supports the primary objectives and stages of the program. Our design aims to elevate the entrepreneur and idea to success, instilling a sense of exploration and inspiration into the entrepreneur that will launch them into the stages of invention beyond academia. We believe there is a cycle created when an exposure to ideas leads to production of innovative results, thereby leading to further exposure to ideas and so on.
The spatial and academic journey of the student-entrepreneur is designed to align with the program objectives, utilizing a series of interior stair ‘moments’ that represent the various transitional phases an entrepreneur must face in their navigation of the challenging journey of innovation development. We have defined these transitions in that journey as: Explore, Test, Develop, & Launch.
Since each internal stair signifies a change in the innovation journey, these stair landings (or floors, in our case) each represent a specific ‘stage’ of innovation: Idea, Early, Resident, & Moving Forward. The spaces designed around these concepts augment and support each stage, while the stairs stitch the stages together vertically.
The decision to implement a somewhat industrial aesthetic pays homage to the innovative history of the ‘production space,’ which in many cases typically feature exposed structural and building systems. The decision to expose our concrete structural system on both the interior and exterior is deliberate, and it can be finished in a way that meets the experiential needs of our intended design concept and affect. By minimizing the amount of various structural components down to one single, monolithic material, there becomes less visual ‘noise’ for the user to interact with, creating more space for users to experience a journey of exploration & inspiration. Glazing is used extensively in both the interior and exterior scopes, and pairs with a unique design of precast concrete panels on the exterior to anchor the building to its context in a unique way.