Northwest Vista CollegeSan Antonio, Texas


This project involved the master planning of a new 10,000 student Community College campus and an initial construction phase to serve a population of 2,500.The 137 acre site, heavily wooded and sloping to a bisecting creek bed, presented both challenges and opportunities. While the natural beauty of the site is truly breathtaking, the location of the creek bed, the sloping topography, and the sheer quantity of mature trees precluded conventional planning concepts.

Taking maximum advantage of the site’s natural amenities, the planning scheme centers the core of the campus around the heavily wooded creek bed. Parking and service functions are located in terraced lots at the site’s periphery. The initial phase of construction (Classroom Building, Library, and Student Center) is placed on both sides of the creek at a consistent elevation, and pedestrian bridges and plazas allow students and faculty to move comfortably between the buildings. Buildings are oriented to strong view corridors of the site and to each other in visually dramatic ways. While organic in plan, the layout also maintains axes to and between the primary buildings, creating a formality appropriate to a college campus.

The exterior envelopes of the buildings reflect the materials and colors native to the site. Limestone colored masonry rises for the base of each building to an intermediate band of terra cotta colored brick. The buildings are capped by low pitched metal roofing in a shade of green reminiscent of the backdrop of trees on the site.