Located at the east entrance to the Valhalla campus, the new Gateway Center is emblematic of the Colleges commitment to a more accessible education for residents of Westchester County and to an American college experience for the many recent immigrants seeking to improve the quality of their lives. Its design was inspired by this vision, and the building is intended as a physical embodiment of the word gateway: an entrance or means of access. Sited to take advantage of the natural beauty of the campus landscape, the Gateway Center is a threshold to the College and an initial expression of campus identity. Building and site are unified to form a sustainable daylit environment. Combining references to the campus architectural legacy and state-of-the-art technology, the building creates a unique educational crossroads and a defining center for campus life.
Two academic wings embrace a landscaped courtyard and are connected by a multi-story transparent glass gateway pavilion that serves as the lobby and welcome center. The composition is punctuated by an illuminated tower at the southeast corner of the site.
In response to greater student diversity, the program includes spaces for the international student community to support their transition to American culture. Likewise a growing demand for professional training from area businesses sponsored the inclusion of spaces to provide business instruction to the local workforce. The buildings Gateway Pavilion houses the Welcome Center and International Student Office and is the main public interface for visitors to the building and the campus overall. In addition, a number of general use classrooms accommodates the increasing enrollment at the College. The remaining components of the program include shared gathering and assembly spaces intended to foster communication among the buildings users.
The two-story structure to the south houses the language program, general classrooms and faculty offices. The three-story structure to the north houses general classrooms and faculty offices of the business and fashion program. The Gateway unifies the two wings of the building.
Building materials were selected both to integrate with the existing fabric of the campus and to distinguish a new signature building for the College. Fieldstone is used at the base of the building to connect with the historic buildings on campus, while offices and classrooms, cantilevered over a base of structurally glazed walls, are clad in zinc. The atrium is wrapped in an aluminum and glass curtain wall assembly supported by a modular system of exposed structural steel elements, which results in a column-free space and a daylit and transparent environment.
The custom-designed brise soleil on the Gateway Centers south-facing courtyard facade allows building inhabitants undisrupted views of the campus and beyond while optimizing natural daylight and limiting glare.
Sustainable design principles informed the design from the overall siting and massing strategy to the integration of energy-efficient systems and the detail development and selection of materials. The building has achieved LEED Gold Certification. Sustainable highlights include: minimizing site disruption through integrating the building into the natural topography and preserving existing trees on site; maintaining a vegetated open space around the building to reduce stormwater run-off and heat island effect while providing natural habitat for flora and fauna and a stormwater system that captures and treats runoff in four bio-retention basins before discharging it to the campus-wide stormwater system. Additionally, water efficiency is achieved through the use of native and adaptive plant species, eliminating the need for irrigation. Within the building, low-flow fixtures save at least 30 over conventional plumbing fixtures, a savings of over 95,000 gallons of water each year. The buildings solar orientation and exterior fenestration enhance daylight within the building. Operable windows throughout contribute to the indoor air quality. A high performance exterior envelope mitigates heat gain and reduces energy consumption with custom-designed sun screens on the south faade of the north wing and Low E glazing throughout. Locally quarried stone is a featured material of the building. High performance mechanical systems, lighting controls and glazing will save over 30 of fossil fuel and electricity consumption annually. Waste management during construction achieved a 90 recycling rate. A carbon dioxide monitoring system provides feedback on the ventilation system. Access to public transportation is adjacent to the site. A comprehensive building signage program will educate occupants and focus on features described above that have been incorporated into the project.