WCU Health and Human Sciences building wins awards

fr wcubuildingWestern Carolina University’s state-of-the-art Health and Human Sciences Building, which opened in fall 2012, has won two awards for its architectural design.


Architects with the architectural firm of PBC+L (now Clark Nexsen) accepted a Design Merit Award for their work on the building from the North Carolina chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The firm also has been named recipient of one of three Architecture Honor Awards from the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects.

The first structure to be constructed on WCU’s West Campus, the building was designed to support the Millennial Initiative, which promotes university collaboration with private industry and government partners to enhance hands-on student learning and collaborative, interdisciplinary research. 

The building was designed to be energy efficient and environmentally friendly and has features such as reflective surfaces on the roof and a rooftop garden to keep heat absorption at bay. The building’s footprint essentially nestles it into the mountainside in a way that minimizes environmental impact. Details such as the orientation of windows and the sun screens on the building’s exterior maximize natural daylight to reduce energy needs for lighting and are positioned to reduce the need for heating and air conditioning. The architects are currently seeking LEED certification, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, for the building from the U.S. Green Building Council.

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