March 3, 2017
East Carolina University interior design students and Pitt Community College architectural technology students are teaming up to create a new law enforcement center in nearby Washington.
While the town ultimately will hire an architectural firm for a final design, student concepts and suggestions will provide direction and could become part of the new center. The students will make a final presentation to town officials in April.
In February, the students were presented the scope of the capstone project: to develop a conceptual building design for a new law enforcement center incorporating the town’s historical precedent while working with existing infrastructure, zoning and building codes.
Working in teams, the students toured the current police station and photographed and documented two proposed sites for the new center, including nearby buildings, vegetation and streets, to prepare for an initial presentation to Washington Police Chief Stacy Drakeford and Captain Cliff Hales.
“They wanted to gather as much information as possible to inform the design process,” said Jaya Rose, assistant professor of interior design in the Department of Interior Design and Merchandising in the College of Health and Human Performance. “The students are very self-directed. This gives them the opportunity to manage their own project. It’s real experience with a client before they graduate in May.”
Last month, ECU senior Scarlett Salter and PCC seniors Alex Clark and Holden Rogers were the first group to present two possible historic design style ideas – federal and colonial revival – to Drakeford and Hales. Each of the five student teams had 20 minutes to present two styles for feedback.
“We spent a lot of time looking at Washington and all the pieces of what makes the town Washington,” Salter said.
Clark, who grew up in Washington, said it’s great to be part of the process. “If we win this, it can go on the resume,” Clark said.
Drakeford wants an understated building, one that fits in with existing architecture, he said.
“It has to be a functional building, not flashy,” Drakeford said. “It has to provide enough room to do what we need to do. I’m looking for a workhorse building.”
The students are meeting periodically this semester with the chief and captain, and will use their critique to develop a final direction for the project.
“It’s a process,” Rose said. “The solution comes after many incarnations and reviews. The students will hone in on what the client wants based on their program needs, from offices to an evidence room.”
The ECU and PCC programs have been working together for about 15 years since first collaborating on a state sustainable building competition, said William Hofler, instructor in PCC’s architectural technology program.
When the competition ended, ECU and PCC faculty decided to keep working together on design projects. The students have been involved in projects from Asheville to Wilmington but focus mainly on eastern North Carolina, he said.
“We have similar skill sets, but we look at buildings from a different perspective,” Hofler said. “It’s a nice blend to see the two work together.”
“ECU’s interior design students partnering with PCC’s architectural technology students provides an experience for them to work together as they would as professionals,” said Dr. Glen Gilbert, dean of the College of Health and Human Performance. “It’s these types of experiences along with the robust curriculum and faculty that attract so many out-of-state students to this high quality program.”