Northwest Vista College Live Oak Hall Academic Center

San Antonio, Texas

Brick and metal lab building shapes outdoor space at water’s edge

Sited at the edge of a lake bisecting campus, the Live Oak Hall Academic Center creates a signature look that helps shape the new college “green” as it terraces down to water’s edge. Featuring an eye-catching butterfly roof, a glazed stair tower serves as a hinge point between two large classroom wings. Deep overhangs and metal sunscreens tie the design together and help shield against the Texas sun.

The new three-story, 86,300-square-foot building houses science laboratories, an astronomy deck, computer labs, classrooms and faculty offices. Arranged in an L-shape plan, the design uses clustered building forms to break down massing and set an appealing, human scale.

Gray, corrugated metal siding contrasts against warm-colored brick, giving Live Oak Hall an industrial yet pleasant, rustic aesthetic. Perforated screens and awnings control solar heat gain while allowing views from interior spaces. Playful ceiling and wall treatments in the informal study spaces help promote impromptu collaboration among students and faculty.

Outdoor spaces with terraced concrete seating offer opportunities for open-air classes to engage and enjoy the campus’s natural landscape. The design includes shade structures built from steel beams and metal mesh that reflect the industrial theme set by the building.

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