Advanced Manufacturing Technology Training Center | Central Carolina Technical College
“We are bringing opportunity and jobs to this area,
and this building will be a part of that,”
SC State Senator Thomas McElveen
Once an abandoned Wal-Mart, a massive 103,000 SF space with a vast asphalt parking lot, this new Advanced Manufacturing Training Center is now a catalyst for industry and economic growth.
Following a dramatic adaptive reuse transformation, this new training facility for a community college houses mechatronics labs, robotics, computer sciences training programs, and an entire suite for a prominent commercial tenant for training prospective employees in automotive tire manufacturing.
The design used a series of layers and interventions to erode the big-box scale of the existing structure and make it functional for academic use. The base layer, the original structural steel and the brick/block exterior cladding of the “big box”, was largely preserved, minimizing the environmental impacts of demolition and provided an opportunity for reduce cost and time in the early construction phase. A layer of standing seam metal panels of alternating size and color provide dimension, scale, and visual interest, recalling a bar code process typically used in industry. An additional layer of a concrete brick wall is detailed with subtle tread-like recesses, adds texture and shadow while creating a prominent entry marque for the commercial tenant’s apprentices.
At the entry, the metal panel layer evolves into a dynamic metal rolling form, further articulated with perforated aluminum fins canted and rotated to evoke a cutting wheel milling out the entrance and carving out a new life from the old “ghost box” shell.
The interior scale is likewise carved and re-imagined. Divided into major avenues, the interior design facilitates wayfinding through highly visible intersections. The design included skylights at these prominent intersections to bring natural light deep into the interior. The team further reduces the structure’s scale by inserting a “back avenue” which functions as a secondary street front inside the building.
The program is divided between commercial training space and academic programs. To accommodate groups of commercial apprentices who rotate weekly into the program, the design includes a well-articulated and prominent front entry space that leads directly into an expansive lobby and computer labs for intake. Physical training spaces behind the computer labs welcome trainees as they progress through the program.
The vast parking lot provided additional challenges in terms of scale, aesthetics, and sustainability. The landscape design shredded large portions of the existing asphalt, then created tree-lined avenues and courtyards within the landscape for placemaking, beauty, stormwater management, and clear circulation.