Garland Center was conceived as a mixed-use development incorporating a 1600-car parking facility, 20,000sf of retail, and a 32,000sf bookstore. The new facilities were intended to create a prominent gateway into the university campus, and also respond to the materiality of the existing architecture on campus, consisting primarily of brick buildings.

The site is at the edge of an urban campus and is situated between residential housing and student housing, and directly adjacent to the campus core. The three program elements (parking, retail, and bookstore) were composed so the facility would be a welcoming first impression to the university, an interesting and safe place to occupy, and maximize its future retail potential.

A pocket plaza was created between the bookstore and garage to create both an intimate gathering area and a welcoming environment for those moving through the shared elevator tower backdrop. The overall composition of the complex is drawn together by intermediate hard-scape spaces carved into the block, in anticipation of people inhabiting and interacting with each other during their daily campus routine.

Drawn from the textural and color palette found on the oldest buildings at the university, the new structures are clad in a combination of various terra-cotta systems and cement board rainscreen panels.

For the garage, a system of two baguette sizes with some randomly rotated 90deg. helps screen the cars from view while providing a texture reminiscent of the exposed layered bedrock found throughout the region. The bookstore, a simple steel structure with hollow core decking, was conceived as a cement board and glass box with a suspended terra-cotta sunscreen on the primary street elevations. Large openings in the screen elements are a direct response to the various sales departments contained within.

The bookstore interior prioritizes daylight and was deliberately kept simple with a limited material palette of glass and either white painted, or dark stained wood, so as not to detract from the architecture and merchandise.