Construction is progressing in Willits on the new North County Center for the Mendocino-Lake Community College District. Midstate Construction is scheduled to complete the project this summer so the new campus can be open for classes in the Fall.
At this point in the construction process, the building has really taken shape; steel is erected and wood framing is nearly complete. In the coming weeks the weathering steel panels are scheduled for installation and the exterior will really come to life as the panel faces begin to oxidize.
The Willits Center, designed by TLCD Architecture, will be a 6,700 square-feet classroom and administrative building on a 4.1-acre site located east of downtown Willits. The heart of the building design will be the Learning Center, a large, day lit space for students to study and collaborate. An operable sliding storefront wall will open the Learning Center to an adjacent computer classroom, and two large sliding barn doors will open the front desk to the Learning Center. The exterior will include weathering steel panels, fiber-cement panels, and glass, while the interior will feature reclaimed redwood paneling and polished concrete floors. This building should be a real gem for the community of Willits and will help the College meet its goal of providing students with a convenient and collaborative educational environment for the students and residents of North Mendocino County.
At the August 2nd meeting of the Mendocino-Lake Community College District Board of Trustees, the construction contract for the Willits Center was awarded to Midstate Construction of Petaluma. There were a total of 9 bids received, and the 3 low bidders were all under the engineer’s estimate of $4 million. Mobilization of the jobsite should begin soon and the construction duration is set for 10 months.
Biomimicry has been one of those buzz words in the architecture community for a while now. There are many different products on the market and also many buildings that claim to have been inspired by nature in some way, but I haven’t seen very many people using the concept on a larger, regional scale. This video is a short presentation by Michael Pawlyn about several concepts from nature that can be applied to architecture that could transform how our work impacts the environment. Pretty audacious, I know. He tells an interesting story about a beetle in the desert who comes out at night in order to create condensation on its back. The beetle’s shell is shaped so that it can pour the condensation directly into it’s mouth in the morning for a drink of life-sustaining water. The beetle’s resourcefulness can be applied architecturally to help reverse desertification in Africa and other parts of the world.
The video is from the TED website, where they have a collection of short presentations about all kinds of interesting topics that are worth checking out. TED is a nonprofit that does conferences and other activities and, in their own words, they are “devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading”