Southeast Community College Academic Excellence Center


A ‘machine for learning’ designed to enhance the community college experience and connect with the local context.

With ambitions to create a new learning model that would challenge the pace of traditional commuter-based education, the college needed a vision for a center that would match their aspirations. The approach was to address design from the student-experience out, with a focus on driving programmatic overlap, student-faculty interaction, and community.

A machine for learning

The facility is purpose-built to best serve its users, demonstrating how contemporary design can enhance the student learning experience and create connections between people, ideas, and the surrounding community.

A pedestrian main street

A primary circulation spine forms a main street that spans the length of the building. This wide corridor features impromptu seating and study areas to “slow down” the student experience, encouraging social interaction and serendipitous encounters not typically part of a commuter college experience.

Embracing the rural vernacular

Inspired by its humble surroundings, the building celebrates the vernacular by making reference to the colors, textures, patterns, and materials found in its agrarian setting.

The scrim wall’s functional aesthetic nods to both the exposed structure of the metal grain silo and the way light filters through the porous walls of a wooden barn.

Location
Beatrice, NE
Size
52,000 sq.ft.
The Chicago Athenaeum
American Architecture Award
Educational Facility Design Awards
Outstanding Project
SCUP Design Awards
Honorable Mention
AIA Central States
Honorable Mention
AIA Nebraska
Architecture Honor Award
Architect of Record
BVH Architecture
General Contractor
Hausmann Construction
Photographers
Michael Robinson & William Hess
Multistudio asterisk