University of Houston Welcome Center, Houston, TX

10/01/2007 |

Project Innovations 2007

Designed to serve as the University of Houston's (UH) ceremonial point of entry and to provide one-stop enrollment serv­ices for new and continuing students, the Welcome Center also functions as an information source to campus visitors. Self-serve kiosks that allow students to use online enrollment services, as well as access the Internet and e-mail through a secured network server are located throughout the facility. The center occupies 28,000 square feet of the $25.8 million, 543,140-square-foot parking garage facility.

The need for a Welcome Center was part of the university's master plan more than 30 years ago. Thousands of students later - and on a growing campus - this greeting place for the UH community is now a reality.

Special Design Features
Constructed in an updated version of the original 1930s material palette - buff brick, glazed tile, aluminum, and clear glass - the Welcome Center salutes UH history and reinforces the campus identity. Of particular note: The new Welcome Center is designed with security in mind, providing ample light, unobstructed views, and state-of-the-art camera and blue-light security phones integrated into the master campus security-monitoring console.

Design/Construction Challenge
Inside the garage, flat decks were desired to maximize the total number of parking spaces, as well as security camera visibility. As a result, the facility was designed with flat decks and express ramps (which are intersected by deck columns at different heights on different levels). 

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