Clark College, Applied Arts Building No. IV Renovation

Vancouver, Washington

  • FIRM

    Harder Architecture LLC


    Clark College and the Division of E/A Services for the State of Washington

  • AREA

    33,966 sq.ft.





Built in 1950, Clark College’s Applied Arts Building No. IV (AA4) is part of a six-structure high-bay complex originally designed to serve mechanical/automotive training. Over the years, AA4 has departmentalized with classes for electronics, materials testing, robotics and computer training. The west bays remained for automotive. Classroom walls were built with little ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$75.46CITATIONRenovation/Modernization CitationFEATURED IN2001 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYRenovation to circulation and flow. In some cases, adjoining spaces are not separated.

The college wanted to consolidate its electronic and computer technology programs into AA4. One major problem was installing a second floor where the bottom height of inverted bowstring trusses measured only 16 feet. The trusses were replaced with a new steel skeleton that fit under the top chord of the truss, preserving the roof, and providing seismic/lateral support.

A linking of AA4 to AA3 meant overcoming a 24-inch difference in floor height. The northeast corner of the AA4 floor was raised and an open courtyard infilled to expand the student lobby. New toilet facilities address student populations and ADA concerns. The elevator is designed with a second stop to transition the height barrier. It meets ADA guidelines without having ramps take up critical space.

Maximum flexibility to address the changing nature of technology programs resulted in designing the nine natural structural bays with individual mechanical/lighting systems that allow for classroom/lab expansion and contraction as program changes dictate. A penthouse on the roof accommodates all mechanical equipment to minimize impact on interior space. All data and communication is provided from hub rooms through a central spine down each level’s corridor ceiling space, allowing easy access for future changes. Instructor offices are consolidated at each floor.

High bay lobbies at each entry end of the building recapture the feel of the existing structure. Skylights, clerestories and openings that are cut into the structure ends and north wall flood the interior with natural lighting. Large window openings into the corridors allow lighting to reach farther into the building’s interior while providing opportunities to showcase class activities. Wood paneling and paint finishes provide a warm, inviting atmosphere.

The final construction results in 10,560 square feet of additional instructional space without adding to the building footprint.

"Innovative approach to structural problem of clear height to create a new building utilizing existing shell."--2001 jury