Stratford University

Project description

Stratford University is a private educational institution offering programs in fields such
as information technology, hospitality, culinary arts, business administration and health
care. Stratford University is growing with additional campuses throughout the state
of Virginia. This 52,000-sf project for the Richmond campus occupies a remodeled
and altered third-generation warehouse space in a local business park. The University
bought a perpendicular 1980’s appendage addition to an even earlier original flex
building. The first bay of the 65,000 sf footprint was demolished to account for required
additional parking and an enhanced entry image. The “new” section of this renovation
is comprised of an expressed corner element housing the library and a small urban
courtyard to provide needed outdoor gathering space for the students. The general
interior scheme is a double-loaded corridor lined with all of the classroom and didactic
teaching labs and cooking spaces. The corridor is punctuated by small “piazza” spaces
with integrated seating and laptop standing spaces and intense wi-fi. Another layer of
hierarchy overlaps the corridor social space; the collective spaces made by the cafeteria
and the pre-function space to the main auditorium. All of these spaces are lit with
sky lights and articulated with high finish materials and have enhanced ceiling height.
These are slow spaces on a corridor that is kinetic by nature. The main administration
area is immediately across from the library forming the entry way at the corner of the
main circulation system. The classrooms are organized around disciplines with tech
clusters and health clusters interspersed with general skills classrooms. Ultimately, the
strategy was one of urbanizing a derelict big box space; the pressure the program efficiency
places on the public circulation is the catalyst for the synergy that gives the
inherently interior scheme the campus feel.