Richland Two Institute of Innovation

Columbia, SC

This learning center is designed to be a place where students, parents, teachers, and academic support personnel can come together, serving as an interactive hub offering resources to the entire community. The vision of the center as a multigenerational “fishbowl of learning” creates educational spaces which are visible and active, encouraging collaboration and engagement.

The building features student learning labs, a community information center, a flexible professional development conferencing center, and academic support offices. Spaces are designed for flexibility, accommodating multiple teaching methods and a variety of group sizes with break-out areas, outdoor learning environments, and movable wall systems. The center can seat up to 800 people for workforce development classes or professional workshops. The center also offers a catering kitchen and an open-area restaurant spilling onto an outdoor patio.

The plan is anchored by a large dividing wall which visibly defines active and public spaces from quieter learning areas, and is deep enough to house storage and other support functions. Portals in the wall maintain visual connectivity between spaces and provide views into the courtyard beyond, while intersections create areas for interaction and collaboration. The main entry supports a clerestory roof element which brings natural light into the building, washing dividing wall with light where the main vertical circulation takes place. A future lateral circulation spine will expand the center for additional learning partners.

The façade is a combination of masonry materials, abundant glazing, various forms of sun shading devices, and metal panels for the more industrial aspects of the facility, and invites students into this engaging work environment.