Green architecture – Wake Forest University Welcome Center
Since Wake Forest University restructured its admissions process and became test-optional in 2008, the personal interview has played a central role in evaluating applicants and changed the way the admissions office operates. On March 22, Wake Forest cut the ribbon on the new 23,000-square-foot Welcome and Admissions Center which as been awarded with LEED Gold certification.
Designed by Lambert Architecture + Interiors, the new center is tucked into the woods next door to Starling Hall, which was built in 1956 as the home for Wake Forest’s president and converted to the former admissions office in 1991. Three times larger than Starling Hall, the new building incorporates the warmth and character of the old house, but provides enough space and the new technology needed to accommodate the significant growth in the number of prospective students visiting the office.
Alcoves and open rooms scattered throughout the building create comfortable spaces for the more than 4,000 on-campus interviews admissions counselors expect to conduct with applicants this year (an additional 5,000 may be interviewed through online video chat or a written question and answer session).
A mix of tradition and innovation, the Old Virginia brick of other campus buildings graces its exterior and the golden tones of oak woodwork warm the inside spaces. FSC-Certified wood was used in the construction of the building. A curved skylight using a state-of-the-art insulated fiberglass panel system provides abundance of light for the main level.
Sustainable design features include high-efficiency mechanical systems and natural light in more than 90 percent of indoor areas to reduce reliance on artificial light. Combined with energy efficient fixtures and appliances, energy usage is lowered by 24 percent. Water usage is also reduced by 40 percent, due to low flow fixtures and dual flush toilets.
Low-VOC materials were used throughout the interior of the space in order to reduce air contaminants, and there is an indoor environmental quality system which monitors the air quality.
Nearly 90 percent of waste generated during construction was diverted from the landfill for recycling and reuse, and more than 30 percent of the construction materials were regionally sourced. Recycled material included the copper used for the roof, two historic chandeliers that originally hung in the Z. Smith Reynolds Library and six chandeliers from Reynolda Hall which were repaired and adapted to use energy saving LED bulbs and compact fluorescent bulbs.