Queensborough Community College Science Building Atrium | Queens, NY

Queensborough Community College, a small commuter campus in Queens, NY, has experienced rapid growth over the past decade. Originally conceived to accommodate around 6,000 part-time students, QCC now boasts a student population of over 16,000 students and a course schedule which runs from 8AM until 10:30PM.

To provide a better experience for its students outside of the classroom, QCC was in dire need of centralized dining and recreation space on campus.

In 2009, Goshow Architects completed a feasibility study to enclose an existing outdoor courtyard within the Science Building at QCC to create a multi-purpose student facility and a gathering place for the local community – there was previously no facility in the neighborhood that can host more than 300 people.

Goshow Architects covered the courtyard using ETFE film, which in comparison to glass, is 1% the weight, transmits more light, and costs 24% to 70% less to install. It is resilient, recyclable and self-cleaning, making it a sustainable and affordable choice.

The natural light which flooded the outdoor courtyard was its strongest feature, and one that Goshow Architects wanted to preserve in the enclosed space. The atrium space is simple by design, with neutral colors, and uncomplicated furnishings, to keep the focus of the space on the lighting.

A second phase of this project will fully enclose the dining area and provide a new commercial kitchen and servery, and is now in design.

Before/After: